Special Issue "Photo-Literary Disorders: Literature, Photography and Illness"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 October 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Giorgia Alù

School of Languages and Cultures, University of Sydney, A18 Brennan MacCallum Building, Camperdown, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: literature and photography; photographic theory; travel writing; women’s writing; modern Italian literature

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since the invention of photography was announced in 1839, photographic aesthetics, practices and products have inspired literature in its varied forms. The development of the photographic camera in the nineteenth century reinforced an entrenched visual inclination towards things, people and events, a tendency that has always extended to literature. Yet, the relationship between photography and literary culture started at a time when scientific developments also impacted enormously on the understanding of health and disease.

In the last thirty years several academic works have studied the presence of disease (in its many manifestations) in literature (ex: D. Bevan, 1993; M. Healy, 2001; C. Lawlor, 2007), as well as the many forms of narratives about illness (ex: G. T. Couser 1997; E. Avrahami, 2007; A. Jurecic, 2012). At the same time, studies in visual culture have investigated how photography has engaged—artistically, scientifically, ethically – with sickness and ailment (S. B. Burns, 2007; C. Squiers, 2005). The ways writing and photography have encountered, clashed and collaborated in the narration of the body and its disorders, since the nineteenth century, is nevertheless a topic scarcely explored.

For this Special Issue, contributions are invited to reflect on how the relationship between photography (as aesthetics, language, material object and practice) and diverse literary genres (prosaic and poetic, non-fictional, auto/biographical and novelistic forms) respond to:

  • psychological and moral illness;
  • chronic illness;
  • mental illness;
  • disability and damaged bodies;
  • imaginary and enacted illnesses;
  • sickness as metaphor;
  • malaise and collective illness;
  • disease and fear;
  • being ill and healing in the digital age.

The Issue will supplement the burgeoning field of literature & photography studies (ex: J.M Rabb, 1995; M. Bryant 1996; T.D. Adams, 2000; A. Safford, 2010) by exploring specifically how writing and photography have communicated and interrelated in the narration and depiction of physical, moral and mental disorders from the invention of photography up to today. How do photo-textual relations corroborate specific ideological discourses related to disease and sickness? How is illness domesticated, localised, celebrated or disowned through the multifarious interrelations of the verbal and the visual?

  • Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted by 1 February 2019.
  • Final submissions to be received by 1 October 2019.

Dr. Giorgia Alù
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 350 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • literature and photography
  • photo-literary
  • photographic theory and culture
  • illness and disease
  • disability

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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