Dr Yianna Liatsos has participated in two separate three-day panels on Embodiment and Literature at the 43rd annual conference of the American Comparative Literature Association, held from July 6-9th at the University of Utrecht and centered on the topic of “Precarity.” The conference, which is annually attended by nearly 3000 participants, is widely recognized for its global reach and its research diversity, which occasion international collaborations on emergent paradigms across disciplines. The panels that Liatsos participated in brought together 20 researchers from North America, Europe and Asia, to interrogate the discourses that make certain bodies meaningful within the context of bodily transformation and transition in narrative medicine, bioethics, medical education, literature and the arts.
Liatsos’ own presentation, entitled “Disjunction and Relationality: Accounting for the Self in the Face of Terminal Illness,” focused on two terminal illness memoirs written by a patient and his primary home-carer. The paper reflected on how the two memoirs engaged the genre of autothanatography by insisting on the self’s interdependent embodiment in the context of the precarious temporality of terminal illness. Liatsos’ paper has been informed by research she has been pursuing in health humanities for the past year in association with the IRC supported UL interdisciplinary project Health Research Futures Lab, and more recently, with the Arts in Health Research Cluster. Liatsos’ conference participation was made possible with support from the AHSS Research Fund.