Call for Papers

Health/Care | Fall 2017

Submissions Due: October 31

There is perhaps no more divisive of an issue in our society than the topic of health-care delivery and the practicalities of its practice. This single phrase conjures fear, ire, complexity, promise, and confusion. On the one hand, it connotes advancement, pointing to the wonders of modern medicine and the many lives saved through compassionate application of medical and technological advances. On the other hand, it brings to mind endless battles with insurance companies or hospitals, bankruptcy, malpractice, “death panels,” and racial and economic disparity in health outcomes. People die every day from a lack of access to health care in the world’s richest country, yet we hear whispers of staggering profits for players in the medical-industrial complex—Big Pharma, insurance, and medical device makers. As we drafted this call for papers, male Senate Republicans were in hiding, debating the fate of the Affordable Care Act behind closed doors. While the Senate ultimately — and narrowly — rejected the bill aimed at repealing former President Obama’s signature plan, its failure highlights how difficult health-care reform can be, even when one party enjoys majority control of the legislative and executive branches.

Over the last decade, it seems we have finally been wrestling with the nature and effects of health care in the U.S., and particularly, what health care means for the most poor and vulnerable in our nation. At best, the debate reveals a culture deeply conflicted about what health care is meant to do, who it is for, how it should be distributed, and who should be providing it. At worst, it becomes an ideological fight between personal and government responsibility. But the core discussion is one of care: what does it mean to care for our bodies? For the sick? How does one die well? And how does our theological heritage help us frame and wrestle with these questions?

In the next issue of The Other Journal, we take up the theme of health care with the hope of facilitating a theologically infused conversation on the multiple dimensions of this topic. Some questions authors might consider include: what does it mean for the church to be an active participant in the role of one’s physical health? Should health care be considered a right in the U.S.? What does the proliferation of “crowd-funding” campaigns to support individual medical expenses tell us about the culture of health care — and ourselves? Is the solution to this problem a single-payer system, or something fundamentally market-based? And where might the Church as an institution and a collective step into this conversation?

From health care destinations to the black market for organs and surrogacy, from policy to the opioid epidemic, from end of life to women’s health, from the care of souls to the care of bodies, we seek essays, creative writing, art, and reviews that uniquely engage this complex and timely conversation.

More information on our submission guidelines, including our email address, can be found on our Submissions page.