Institut d’été de la CHCI Health and Medical Humanities Network


Columbia Global Centers | Paris
June 14-15, 2019
“Health Beyond Borders”

The CHCI Health and Medical Humanities Network is a partnership of over 30 universities worldwide
working in the medical and health humanities. In 2019, the annual Summer Institute of the CHCI
HMHN will be hosted by Columbia Global Centers | Paris, with the theme, “Health Beyond Borders.”
Human health is shaped by borders—from the protected space of the hospital to the international
boundaries that govern the health of populations. But even as borders offer a way of delineating
health and disease in physical space, the border itself is often understood as a boundary to be
transcended or a frontier to be crossed. The notion of moving beyond borders helps to make sense
of broader trends in global health, from debates about migration, contested sovereignty, and
environmental accords to the boundary-crossing work of clinicians such as the Médecins sans
frontières. Within the medical and health humanities, the border provides a rich zone for
investigation into how well-being is constituted across a continuum of individuals and populations.
Importantly, at the heart of the concept of the border is the issue of representation : borders are
necessarily shaped as much by human expression as they are by physical markers.
This conference explores the interdisciplinary facets of the border, from the metaphorical to the
political: What counts as a border in an embodied, geographical, legal, or artistic context? What are
the debates around borders in medical practice, from hospitalist medicine to epidemiology? How
and why do health practitioners refer to the border for its rhetorical power, and how does the
border work productively as a figure in narrative medicine, medical memoirs, and creative
literature? What are the processes and structures that define well-being across borders, from
nationalist immigration policies to environmental protections? How do we understand efforts to
confront, dismantle, or transcend borders in healthcare? What role do borders play in the formation
of state-sanctioned health policies, and how might these enable or obstruct initiatives in global
health? And how might the concept of the boundary reshape our visions of a future health beyond

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