Gender Symposium Shines Light on the History of Healing and Caring

VIU Professors Dr. Cheryl Krasnick Warsh, left, and Dr. Katharine Rollwagen, right, along with Dr. Cathryn Spence and Dr. Whitney Wood (not pictured) received a $19,050 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant. Vancouver Island University Photo

June 11, 2020 - 11:30am

VIU researchers received a $19,050 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant to host symposium.

Vancouver Island University (VIU) researchers are shining a spotlight on the ways in which gender has played a consistent role in determining what forms of healing and caring are recognized, institutionalized and rewarded.

VIU’s Dr. Cheryl Krasnick Warsh, Dr. Cathryn Spence, Dr. Katharine Rollwagen and Dr. Whitney Wood worked with Dr. Kristin Burnett from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario; Dr. Lynn Thomas from the University of Washington in Seattle; and Dr. Sara Ritchey from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to host a symposium on Health, Healing and Caring in Historical Perspective. The researchers received a $19,050 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant to host the event.

The symposium examined a range of topics including health education, reproductive health care, queer health and healing work in allied health professions. Its aim was to fill gaps in current scholarly literature and to bring together new information from a range of established and emerging researchers on a variety of related subjects.

The organizers had planned to hold the symposium at VIU’s Nanaimo campus this May. Following the ban on international travel and the implementation of physical distancing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the symposium was held via Zoom May 21-22.

The virtual symposium included four separate panels of 20 specialists from India, Israel, Spain, the United States and Canada who spoke on health topics such as ancient Roman recipes, clothing in the imperial British navy, and responses to the AIDS crisis in modern Vancouver. All topics related to the labour of healing and caring.

“During the symposium, theoretical connections were made between very disparate topics,” says Krasnick Warsh, one of the organizers. “The symposium was unanimously well-received by the participants, who were able to really engage with one another’s work.”

The scholarly papers discussed during the symposium sessions will be published in a special issue of Gender & History, the world’s leading journal on the history of gender relations. The North American office for the academic journal is based at VIU. The special issue Health, Healing and Caring in Historical Perspective will be published in 2021, and the editors intend to host a public reception to celebrate the issue.

“We were disappointed not to be able to bring symposium participants to Nanaimo and VIU’s beautiful campus,” adds Spence, “but we nevertheless consider the symposium to have been a rousing success, and look forward to moving forward with the related special issue. Everyone involved – we the editors, our special issue editors and our participants – all worked hard to ensure the sessions were engaging to each presenter and valuable to their research.”

The VIU Gender & History editors have also started planning another special issue of the journal on the theme of gender and food in history, to be published in 2022.



Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373 l E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: History | Women and Gender Studies | Research

Sign up for our VIU news and experts email