Hiram College

The Seminar

The 2018 summer seminar investigates future directions for the health humanities as a field by attending to the diverse “publics” it serves. Drawing our attention to opportunities for public engagement beyond academic and clinical contexts, it offers the opportunity to think about 1). public scholarship, and the ways in which our research and teaching can transcend institutional spaces to engage with broader audiences, 2). public health, and the role of the health humanities in intervening in crises such as environmental disasters, and 3). public policy, and how we “do” health humanities when both health care and the humanities are under threat from our administration.  Through these, or any of the other possible lenses that “public health humanities” offers as a focus, we are especially interested in issues of social justice, as we interrogate the ethical responsibilities of our field to its “publics” at this historical juncture. The seminar will offer all participants the opportunity to share their own work and expertise through sessions of 5-minute lightning talks and a poster session, which will be an optional part of the seminar application.

The seminar will open with an evening reception and Forum Theatre performance on Wednesday, June 6th and run for three full days (June 7th-9th) on the scenic campus of Hiram College, located in Northeast Ohio’s historic Western Reserve region, approximately 45 minutes east of Cleveland. The unique rural setting offers an intimate, collaborative, retreat-like atmosphere in which to engage with and learn from colleagues. In addition to the seminar sessions, participants will enjoy evening social events, an open mic night, opportunities to hike the trails at Hiram’s Field Station, and more.

Pre-Seminar Workshop: “Forum Theatre for Health Care Equity”

This optional workshop (for which participants may register separately or in conjunction with the seminar) will train participants in the techniques of Theatre of the Oppressed while focusing on the topics of health care equity and health disparities. Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), developed by Brazilian theatre artist and political activist Augusto Boal in the late 20th century, is used around the world by oppressed and marginalized peoples as a brainstorming tool, with the goal of overturning oppressive systems (such as racism, income disparity, sexism, poverty, etc.). In the most well-known type of TO, Forum Theatre, a community creates and performs a short play about a real problem. After the performance, the audience (whom we call spect-actors) discusses the issue briefly. Then the scene is played again. This time, any spect-actor can stop the action and intervene, replacing the protagonist, to try to change the outcome of the scene for the better. Using theatre in this way allows us to rehearse for real life.

The workshop will run the afternoon and evening of Tuesday, June 5th and the full day of Wednesday, June 6th, concluding in a Forum Theatre performance on the evening of the 6th to coincide with the opening of the summer seminar. Space in this workshop will be limited to 30 participants. We hope to have a diverse group of participants consisting of activists, community organizers, health care professionals, and people directly affected by the issues we will be exploring.


Summer Seminar: $900 if registered by April 15, 2018. $1,000 if registered thereafter. Price includes tuition, 4 nights lodging, all meals and libations, and resource materials.  (If you are local and prefer not to stay on campus, the registration price is $700 by April 15, 2018, or $800 thereafter).

Forum Theatre Workshop: $250 if registered by April 15, 2018. $300 if registered thereafter. Price includes tuition, 1 night lodging, all meals and libations, and resource materials.  (If you are local and prefer not to stay on campus, the registration price is $200 by April 15, 2018, or $250 thereafter). 

Seminar and Workshop Combined: Discounted price of $1050 total if registered by April 15, 2018. $1200 if registered thereafter.

A limited number of scholarships will be available for students and others who lack institutional support. Please contact the organizers at litmed@hiram.edu to inquire.


Seminar participants will be accommodated in a suite-style, air-conditioned residence hall on Hiram College campus.  Guests will have a private bedroom, and will share the two bathrooms and central living area of their suite with other seminar participants. Participants may also choose to book accommodation at the Hiram Inn for an additional fee.


Enrollment will be limited for both the seminar and workshop in order to ensure the intimate setting of exchange and participatory learning with colleagues that has been a key part of the Center’s summer seminars for more than twenty-five years. We welcome participants from all fields, especially health care, the humanities, and the social sciences.

Application Deadline

The application for both the seminar and the workshop are available at https://hiram.wufoo.com/forms/2018-summer-seminar-application/ through March 16, 2018.  Notifications of acceptance will be made by March 31, 2018.

For More Information, Contact the Conference Coordinators



Center for Literature and Medicine
Hiram College
Mahan House
P.O. Box 67
Hiram, OH 44234