Bibliography: Chronic Pain Reading Group

Since last autumn, I've been running a Reading Group for the discussion of texts relevant to chronic pain, and sensory disorders more generally. (For details of the Reading Group, including how to join and our meeting schedule, see here.) Below, I've provided the bibliography for each session, which works as a primer for key texts in the area of chronic pain and allied issues, including disability and illness studies. I'll be updating this page on an ongoing basis, so watch this space for more readings.

Whenever possible, I've provided links to the readings online to maximise accessibility to the materials. Unfortunately, some pieces are either only available hardcopy or behind paywalls online. If you'd like access to readings as .pdfs, please email me to join the Reading Group, and I will add you to the email list to which I send out .pdfs of our selected readings in advance of our scheduled meet-ups. 


Reading Group 1 - Statistics and Logistics of Chronic Pain in the Medical Establishment

  • Brennan, Frank, Daniel B. Carr, and Michael Cousins, ‘Pain Management: A Fundamental Human Right’, Pain Medicine, 105.1 (2007), 205-21 (online here)
  • British Pain Society, and Dr Foster Research Ltd., ‘National Pain Audit Final Report’, British Pain Society, (2012) (online here)
  • Donaldson, Liam, 150 Years of the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer: On the State of Public Health 2008 (2008) (online here), pp. 1-5, 33-39
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Pain: Hope Through Research, NIH Publication No. 12406 (2014) (online here)
  • Tordoff, Kimberley, 'The Assessment of Chronic Pain’, in Fundamental Aspects of Pain Assessment and Management, ed. by Karina McGann (London, UK: Quay Books, 2007), pp. 51-62


Reading Group 2 - Illness Narratives, Talking Bodies, and the Fight for an Authentic Personal Story

  • Altman, Anna, ‘Every Body Goes Haywire’, n+1 (2016) (online here)
  • Ehrenreich, Barbara, Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World (London: Granta, 2009), pp. 15-44 (= ch.1 , 'Smile or Die: The Bright Side of Cancer') (Google books)
  • Eyler, Joshua, ‘The Grief of Pain’, (2015) (online here)
  • Frank, Arthur W., The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), pp. 1-25, 53-73 (Google books)
  • Frank, Arthur W., At the Will of the Body: Reflections on Illness (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991), pp. 64-71, 108-114 (Google books)


Reading Group 3 - Working With, and Beyond, Elaine Scarry

  • Bustan, Smadar, ‘Voicing Pain and Suffering through Linguistic Agents: Nuancing Elaine Scarry’s View on the Inability to Express Pain’, Subjectivity, 9.4 (2016), 363-80 (paywalled online here)
  • Larocco, Steve, ‘Pain as Semiosomatic Force: The Disarticulation and Rearticulation of Subjectivity’, Subjectivity, 9.4 (2016), 343-62 (paywalled online here)
  • McIntyre, Michael, ‘Rethinking The Body in Pain’, Subjectivity, 9.4 (2016), 381-98 (paywalled online here)
  • Scarry, Elaine, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 3-23 (Google books)


Reading Group 4 - Chronic Illness and Disability

  • McRuer, Robert, Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (New York: New York University Press, 2006), pp. 1-32 (Google books)
  • Patsavas, Alyson, ‘Recovering a Cripistemology of Pain: Leaky Bodies, Connective Tissue, and Feeling Discourse’, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, 8.2 (2014), 203-18 (paywalled online here)
  • Souza, Valéria M., ‘Who’s Afraid of Chronic Illness as Disability? An Entire Field, Apparently.’,, (3 February 2014) (online here)
  • Wendell, Susan, ‘Unhealthy Disabled: Treating Chronic Illnesses as Disabilities’, Hypatia, 16.4 (2001), 17-33 (paywalled online here)


Reading Group 5: Pain, Chronic Illness, and the Perception of Time

  • Charmaz, Kathy, Good Days, Bad Days: The Self in Chronic Illness and Time (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1991), pp. 167-265, in particular pp. 169-95 (Google books)
  • Godden, Richard, ‘Getting Medieval in Real Time’, postmedieval, 2 (2011), 267–77 (paywalled online here)
  • Morris, David B., ‘Intractable Pain and the Perception of Time: Every Patient Is An Anecdote’, in Evidence-Based Chronic Pain Management, ed. by Cathy Stannard, Eija Kalso and Jane Ballantyne (Oxford: Blackwell, 2010), pp. 52-58 (paywalled online here; full-text on
  • St. Pierre, Joshua, ‘Distending Straight-Masculine Time: A Phenomenology of the Disabled Speaking Body’, Hypatia, 30.1 (2015), 49-65 (paywalled online here)
  • Toombs, S. Kay, ‘The Temporality of Illness: Four Levels of Experience’, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 11.3 (1990), 227-41 (paywalled online here)


Reading Group 6: Gendered & Feminist Perspectives 

  • Hedva, Johanna, ‘Sick Woman Theory’, Mask Magazine, The Not Again Issue: Jan 2016 (online here
  • Jones, Cara E., ‘The Pain of Endo Existence: Toward a Feminist Disability Studies Reading of Endometriosis’, Hypatia, 31.3 (2016), 554-71 (paywalled online here)
  • Pitts-Taylor, Victoria, ‘I Feel Your Pain: Embodied Knowledges and Situated Neurons’, Hypatia, 28.4 (2013), 852-69 (paywalled online here)
  • Price, Margaret, ‘The Bodymind Problem and the Possibilities of Pain’, Hypatia, 30.1 (2015), 268-84 (paywalled online here)
  • Wendell, Susan, ‘Toward a Feminist Theory of Disability’, Hypatia, 4.2 (1989), 104-24 (paywalled online here)