Calls for Papers: The Impact of Politics on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights


Volume 27 Number 54, May 2019

Submission deadline 31 October 2018

RHM is compiling a themed issue to be published in May 2019 on the impact of politics on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The purpose of the issue is to assimilate and highlight the consequences of and interconnections between political activities, systems or change on SRHR – whether at global, regional, state, or local levels, and at their intersections, especially in low- and middle-income settings.

The definition of politics is diverse and wide-ranging. Put succinctly by Lasswell in 1936, politics is about ‘who gets what, when and how’1, indicating its close association with power and influence. Politics has many facets. It can be an effective means of expanding evidence-informed action, representation, voice, agency, community engagement, co-operation, and opportunity for progressive change. Perceptions of politics can be negatively and emotionally charged; associated with ideology, dishonesty, self-interest, deceit and the unresponsiveness of institutions. Political activities and their impacts occur at different levels: they may be momentous global events, or they may take place locally, with effects at regional, national or local level. Politics may cause problems, solve them, or both, at the same time. Unintended and unforeseen consequences may result. People and population groups can be differentially affected by political actions in many ways: influencing laws and rights; determining war or peace; defining the distribution of information, wealth and health care; or shaping social cohesion2,3. Political decisions or expressions can have consequences impacting on the lives of individuals, including women and girls, and their ability to exercise and access SRHR. Institutions (such as multilateral organisations or non-government organisations) can also be affected, with changes to funding, established donor mechanisms, programmatic areas and capacity of organizations to engage with SRHR.

We live in a world of constant flux. The quickly changing political contexts of recent years have influenced SRHR discourse, access to rights, funding, services and lived experiences, and will continue to do so. In this call for papers, RHM will accept reviews, research articles, perspectives, commentaries and personal narratives which discuss and highlight positive, negative or mixed impacts of global, regional, national or local politics on SRHR. Submissions which make connections between these different levels will be of interest, for example, how global or regional politics can impact on the national and local. Papers submitted may identify political determinants of SRHR, document different forms of activism or resistance, explore interactions, trace pathways for change, or describe short term, intermediate, long term or ultimate outcomes.

Examples of relevant topics in SRHR related to contemporary political events include:

  • The shift towards right-wing and/or populist politics occurring across many countries and regions
  • The power of the #MeToo social media movement against sexual assault and harassment
  • Reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule prohibiting US funding to foreign organizations that offer abortion services or information
  • Demographic transition in China and its U-turn from a harsh one-child policy, to plans for boosting birth rates
  • The recurrence of widespread violence in Congo, with rape and sexual abuse used to intimidate in a context where lack of public services and transgressions of SRHR committed in the wake of the war in the 1990s remain unaddressed
  • The role of political activism and civil society in Senegal, with documented successes in the control of HIV/AIDS, despite its low-income status as a country
  • The rise in popularity of right wing politics in Costa Rica after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that gay marriage should be legalised
  • Protests in Iran by women against compulsory covering of their heads in public

The relevance of today’s politics on SRHR is clear, but not always well-documented. In this RHM collection, we aspire to compile and generate a diverse range of perspectives and evidence to inspire debate, inform intervention and effect change that will lead to better lives for people. Politics will determine whose SRHR are protected, when universal health care and respect for rights can be realised, and how it will be achieved.

We would like to remind potential authors of articles that in addition to our regular calls for themed papers, RHM also accepts other papers related to SRHR on an ongoing basis. Some of these may later be brought together or listed as key topics. We accept a wide range of article types, from full research reports to short personal perspectives, letters and book reviews. Please see instructions for authors at:


  1. Lasswell H. Politics: Who Gets What, When, How. London, Whittlesey House, 1936.
  2. WHO. Sexual health, human rights and the law. June 2015.
  3. Miller AM, Gruskin S, Cottingham J, Kismödi E. Sound and Fury ‒ engaging with the politics and the law of sexual rights. Reproductive Health Matters, 2015; 23: 46, 7-15, DOI: 10.1016/j.rhm.2015.11.006
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Calls for Papers: Redefining Leprosy/Disease through Heritage Preservation of Colonial Sites in Asia

Call for Papers: Redefining Leprosy/Disease through Heritage Preservation of Colonial Sites in Asia
Date: January 18, 2019 to January 19, 2019
The Challenge

The re-discovery / re-interpretation of leprosy in the late nineteenth century by the West provoked a flurry of international control and management techniques under the rubric of biomedicine to limit its spread across the imperial world. The recommendation for segregation and isolation of leprosy-affected people, as proposed by Hansen and his followers during the First International Leprosy Conference in 1897, in Berlin, led to the establishment of numerous leprosaria in the early 20th century. Thus, several significant leprosy settlements in Asia were built under the colonial legislation of three major empires in the early 20th century: the British Empire, the United States, and the Japanese Empire. While many missionary-run clinics and shelters were established to contribute to the medical care of leprosy-affected people in Asia, colonial powers enforced a mandated set of standards for their collective management and control. In partnership with colonial expansion, these policies of segregation and isolation, originally for hygienic and medical purposes by medical elites, served to benefit the combined economic and nationalist aims of colonialists (Macleod & Lewis, 1988), and promoted homogenized, self-sustained settlements to meet the medical and social needs of the sufferers. Due to the disfiguring of the sufferers and the fear of the disease, the leprosy policies indirectly reinforced social stigmatization against leprosy-affected people. Even after leprosy was found curable in the 1960s, leprosy-affected people chose to remain in settlements to avoid confrontation and social rejection. As a result, most leprosaria functioned as living places for hundreds of stigmatized people and their families into the postcolonial period. Due to their continued isolation from mainstream society, leprosy affected people and their history have been unheard, marginalized, and largely forgotten.

Since the 1990s, research on leprosy and leprosy-affected people has encompassed many different disciplines such as history, anthropology, medicine, sociology, and psychology, drawing upon perspectives from Eurocentric colonial / imperial criticism of civilized citizens (Anderson, 1998; Edmond, 2006), imperial hygiene (Bashford, 2004), evangelical and racial criticism (Gussow,

1989; Shankar, 2014), as well as modern medical developments and public health policies (Moran, 2007). When the Leprosy Prevention Law in Japan was finally abolished in 1996, the history of leprosy, leprosy settlements, and leprosy-affected people in Asia again received the spotlight. In contrast with prolific discourses from the metropole, the center of leprosy research has now shifted to site-specific periphery diversity through a bottom-up process, focusing on the unique development pattern of each leprosarium. Particularly, a series of transnational movements to promote heritage preservation of the history of leprosy has reconnected historical legacies of leprosy through international collaboration among NGOs, activists, preservationists, academics, and mostly, leprosy-affected people. Leprosaria, as products and symbols of imperial colonialism, have become central to the discussion of colonial leprosy policies and their impacts on social and cultural domains from the perspectives of the periphery/colony in modern times.

Given that leprosy has been stigmatized and demonized in many distinct layers, leprosy was never a conventional social topic. Places like leprosy settlements were never a priority in historic preservation due to their lesser architectural value and subordinate historical importance in nation-building activities. Furthermore, they are considered as difficult heritage, which reflects “the destructive and cruel side of history” (Logan & Reeves, 2008) and is awkward for public reconciliation with a positive, self-affirming contemporary identity (Macdonald, 2009).

Conference Themes

In this call for papers, we invite contributors from heritage studies, museum studies, medical history, sociology, contemporary archeology, preservation advocacy, etc. to investigate the complexity for heritage preservation and interpretation of colonial leprosaria and related sites in Asia, which were involved with human rights, social stigma, and post-colonial reconciliation. Although the main focus of this conference is leprosaria in Asia, we also welcome papers on colonial settlements, including comparable spaces such as asylums and health facilities associated with quarantine regimes. Conference themes to be explored include, but are not limited to:

Topic one: A Difficult Past as Resilient Resource for the Cohesive Present

  • How have different forces in contemporary events led to revisiting forgotten history for the purposes of building community and national coherence, such as museum interpretation, civil involvements, anti-stigma strategies? What were the political, economic and social contexts to support these current methods?
  • How have collective memories of leprosy-affected people observed the growing solidarity amongst themselves against threats to the integrity of their living spaces, while reinterpreting those same living spaces in conjunction with their local histories?
  • How did the uniqueness of each leprosarium contribute to the agenda of the heritage legacy? In what form and representation?

Topic two: A Difficult Past as Cultural Resource for the Contested Future

  • How did the recent unique way of reappraising heritage value of individual leprosarium challenge the collective identity of leprosaria on an international level under the influence of a possible World Heritage nomination?
  • How did the involvement of diverse stakeholders such as NGOs, leprosy-affected people, and activists affect interpretations of the difficult past while also being used for its cultural and social significances in a contest for cultural diplomacy?
  • How did the complexity of leprosy legacy challenge the existing preservation discussion under the influence of Euro-centric academic discourse on heritage studies?

Submission of Abstracts

The conveners (John DiMoia, Department of Korean History, College of Humanities, Seoul

National University, South Korea; Shu-yi Wang, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Tsing-hua University, Taiwan) welcome abstracts of no more than 300 words, which should be submitted to by July 31, 2018.


Key Dates:

July 31: Deadline for abstract submission

August 15: Notification of accepted abstracts

November 30: Deadline for submission of final paper (5,000 words)

Funding / resources: The conveners are currently awaiting the results of funding applications. We expect to be able to provide meals and housing in Seoul, and possibly some part of travel costs. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Contact Email:

Calls for Papers: Medicine and Public Health in Modern Iran: Historical and Sociological Perspectives

Medicine and Public Health in Modern Iran: Historical and Sociological Perspectives

The editorial office of Iranian Studies is pleased to invite you to submit scholarly contributions on the general theme of the history and sociology of medicine and topics relating to public health in modern Iran. Topics of interest will include but are not limited to:

-Traditional medicine and medical beliefs and practices in the nineteenth century and beyond: historical and anthropological approach.
-Introduction of modern medicine and medical reforms in the twentieth century.
-Potential topics will include but are not limited to: evolution of medical terminology and texts, institutions of medical education and training, professional setups of health care
and practice (in terms of professionalization of medicine), medical designs and architecture.
-Epidemics and disease: diagnosis, treatment plans, prevention methods, and public discourse.
-Health of the mind: psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis. Institutions of mental
-Medicine and public health as represented in the arts, literature, and film.
-Addiction and substance abuse: historical and sociological approach.
-Family medicine, maternity wards, vaccination, public access to healthcare, and related topics.
-Sociology of aging and geriatric medicine.
-Pharmaceutical production and medication market: from traditional to modern.
-Analytical surveys on medical laws and ordinances relating to medical and biological issues (such as birth control, gender reassignment, and stem cell research), and medical ethics (such as organ transplant and organ donation).
-Recent fieldwork, archival accounts and/or reports on official as well as private collections of primary source material will be particularly welcomed.
-Proposals should include a title, an abstract of around 300-500 words, accompanied by a onepage CV. The abstract should provide a clear account of (a) the paper’s overriding argument, (b) its contribution to current scholarly debates in the field, and (c) the range of primary source material that will be utilized in the paper.
 Proposals due date: July 1, 2018.
 Notifications to accept or decline the proposals will be sent out by the editorial office to individual authors on August 1, 2018.
 Completed paper submissions via Iranian Studies online submission platform: January 1, 2019. All submitted papers will go through a preliminary assessment at the editorial office. Selected papers will subsequently go through a double blind external peer review process.

Please address all communications via email to:
Ali Gheissari
Editor-in-Chief, Iranian Studies
Department of History, University of San Diego

Calls for Papers: Society for the History of Navy Medicine Conference with Army Medical Department Center of History and Heritage

Over 22-25 March 2018, the Army Medical Department Center of History and Heritage and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences along with the Society for the History of Navy Medicine will be co-sponsoring a conference on the medical history of WWI.

It will be hosted at the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School in San Antonio, Texas.

Presentations on all facets of naval medicine and healthcare related to the war are welcome, to include: historical understandings of navy medicine as practiced by all participants and in all geographic regions; consideration of the repercussions of the war on the practice of navy medicine; navy medicine in various campaigns; effects on the home fronts; postwar navy medical issues; navy mental health issues; the pandemic influenza; and related topics.  A special call is made for papers tied to gender and navy medicine, especially in the context of navy nurses who served in World War I.

Presentations should be 30 minutes long, and two-paper panels are welcome.  Shorter papers are welcomed as well.

A travel grant award for graduate students who wish to present papers at the conference will be offered.  Encourage graduate students to submit papers.  Any facet of naval medicine will be acceptable.

Those interested in presenting in the context of naval medicine please contact the Executive Director of the Society for the History of Navy Medicine, Dr. Annette Finley-Croswhite, Professor of History, Old Dominion University,


Please consider proposing a panel or paper for the upcoming conference in San Antonio.

We want to be present at this important conference in San Antonio, Texas, US

Contact Info: Annette Finley-Croswhite, Ph.D., Executive Director, Society for the History of Navy Medicine, Department of History, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA  23529-0091; Email: