Call for Submissions

Tendon Issue 5: Sanctuary

Writing in the aftermath of World War I, the novelist Thomas Mann placed his character Hans Castorp in a tuberculosis sanatorium, high in the Alps, for seven years. For Mann, the concept of safety was complex: he described time, itself, as a swiftly-disintegrating sanctuary. From Mann’s The Magic Mountain to George Mason University’s recent virtual exhibit, “Sanctuary: Growing Along Nature in an Uncertain World,” the concept of sanctuary has been articulated through a variety of media and disciplinary forms. Sanctuary, which invokes notions of sacred space, can be associated with a place that provides safety or protection. The word itself creates social meaning across languages: in French, for example, the word for “sanctuary” is interchangeable with “asylum.” For the past four decades, the sanctuary movement in the U.S. has sought to provide asylum for groups seeking refuge from sites of political oppression. In the 1980s, networks of religious groups in the U.S. declared themselves sanctuaries for Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees (Coutin 1993). Responding to restrictive border policies, sanctuary policies have more recently been invoked by cities, states, and universities, defined by core principles of solidarity and accompaniment (Lasch 2018, Coutin 2021). Recently, Russia has invaded Ukraine and displaced more than ten million people now in need of sanctuary. Meanwhile, more than two years into the pandemic, life is marked by surges of risk that make a constant sense of safety elusive for many. 

Tendon’s fifth issue looks to foreground what aesthetics, ethics, and affects of safety might look like in the context of medical humanities. We are looking for submissions that take one or more of the following into consideration: 

  • Experiences of providing or receiving medical care in places of sanctuary
  • Reflections on the relationship between sanctuary and power
  • Everyday experiences of pain and sanctuary 
  • History of sanctuary in science, technology, or medicine
  • Literary representations of sanctuary 
  • Art created from experiences of refuge
  • Affects or emotions of inhabiting safe spaces 
  • Safety as an ‘inner’ or ‘outer’ phenomenon
  • Sites defined as sanctuaries that are targeted or made unsafe
  • Sanctuary from burnout or fatigue

Tendon will be accepting submissions until July 1, 2022 at In your email, please attach your submission as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf, and include:

  • Name and Pronouns
  • Genre Label: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Critical Perspectives, or Visual Art
  • Author’s Bio (2-4 sentences)
  • Social Media Handle (if any)

This spring, Tendon is also inviting nominations for the Audre Lorde Award for Undergraduate Writing.