‘Why is my pain perpetual?’ (Jer 15:18): Chronic Pain in the Middle Ages
Début : Sep 29, 2017 09:00 AM
Fin : Sep 29, 2017 07:00 PM
Emplacement IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building
Pain is a universal human experience. We have all hurt at some point, felt that inescapable sensory challenge to our physical equanimity, our health and well-being compromised. Typically, our agonies are fleeting. For some, however, suffering becomes an artefact of everyday living: our pain becomes ‘chronic’. Chronic pain is persistent, usually lasting for three months or more, does not respond well to analgesia, and does not improve after the usual healing period of any injury.
Following Elaine Scarry’s (1985) seminal work The Body in Pain, researchers from various humanities disciplines have productively studied pain as a physical phenomenon with wide-ranging emotional and socio-cultural effects. Medievalists have also analysed acute pain, elucidating a specifically medieval construction of physical distress. In almost all such scholarship – modern and medieval – chronic pain has been overlooked.
The new field of medieval disability studies has also neglected chronic pain as a primary object of study. Instead, disability scholars in the main focus on ‘visible’ and ‘mainstream’ disabilities, such as blindness, paralysis, and birth defects. Indeed, disability historian Beth Linker argued in 2013 that ‘[m]ore historical attention should be paid to the unhealthy disabled’, including those in chronic pain (‘On the Borderland’, 526). This conference seeks specifically to pay ‘historical attention’ to chronic pain in the medieval era. It brings together researchers from across disciplines working on chronic pain, functioning as a collaborative space for medievalists to enter into much-needed conversations on this highly overlooked area of scholarship.
Relevant topics for this conference include:
-Medieval conceptions and theories of chronic pain, as witnessed by scientific, medical, and theological works
-Paradigms of chronic pain developed in modern scholarship – and what medievalists can learn from, and contribute to, them -Comparative analyses of chronic pain in religious versus secular narratives -Recognition or rejection of chronic pain as an affirmative subjective identity -Chronic pain and/as disability -The potential share-ability of pain in medieval narratives, such as texts which show an individual taking on the pain of another -The relationship between affect and the severity, understanding, and experience of pain -The manner in which gender impacts the experience, expression, and management of an individual’s chronic pain
–Prof Esther Cohen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), one of the foremost scholars on pain in the Middle Ages, will deliver the keynote address: ‘What is Chronic Pain in a Non-Neural Age? Working Definitions, Sources, and Methodologies’.
-Dr Katherine Harvey (Birkbeck, University of London, UK), ‘Chronic Pain and the Saintly Bishop in Medieval England’
-Dr James McKinstry (Durham University, UK), ‘Headaches, Diseases, and Old Age: William Dunbar’s Diagnosis of Chronic Pain’
-Dr Michele Moatt (National Trust and Lancaster University, UK), ‘Chronic Pain and Prophecy in the Twelfth-century Life of Aelred of Rievaulx’
-Catherine Coffey (Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland), ‘“Mit zwoelf tugenden stritet si wider das vleisch”: The Body Fighting the Flesh in Mechthild von Magdeburg’s Das fließende Licht der Gottheit’
-Katherine Briant (Fordham University, New York, USA), ‘Pain as a Theological Framework in Julian of Norwich’s Vision and Revelation’
-Dr Nicole Nyffenegger (Bern University, Switzerland), ‘Mary’s Perpetual Physical Pain: Affective Piety and “Doubling”’
-Prof Wendy J Turner (Augusta University, Georgia, USA), ‘Mental Complications of Pain: Age and Violence in Medieval England’
-Dr Bianca Frohne (University of Bremen, Germany), ‘Living With Pain: Constructions of a Corporeal Experience in Early and High Medieval Miracle Accounts’
-Dr William Maclehose (University College London, UK), ‘A Locus for Healing: Saints’ Shrines and Representations of Chronic Pain’
Bursaries for attendance:
This conference is generously supported by the Society for the Social History of Medicine. As such, members of the Society for the Social History of Medicine may apply for bursaries to facilitate attendance. We encourage all eligible parties to apply. Please see here for full details.
-Please register here.
-The conference registration fee is £20. The fee is waived completely for concessions (students, the unwaged, retired scholars), though all attendees must register for the conference.
-The registration fee covers refreshments throughout the day for attendees, including tea and coffee at breaks, a sandwich lunch, and a wine reception. If you have any dietary requirements, please list these when you confirm your attendance.
–Registration closes on 1st August 2017.
How to get to the conference:
-For details as to how to get to UCL on public transport, please see here.
-Please enter UCL through the gates at the Front Lodges on Gower Street (marked by the big red pin in the map below). This entrance offers the most direct route to the workshop location.
-The workshop takes place in the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), University College London, UK. We will be in the room Common Ground which is on the Ground Floor of the South Wing in the Wilkins Building. There is a variety of seating types available for attendees in this room. We will also have a QuietRoom (the Council Room G12) available for attendees to rest and take a break, located directly opposite Common Ground.
-Please follow the route as shown in the map below to reach Common Ground from the Front Lodges. This route is wheelchair accessible.
-To consult the disabledgo.com Access Guide for the Wilkins Building, please see here. Accessible bathroom facilities are available directly next to Common Ground, and also on the Lower Ground floor (by lift).
If you have any queries, including access requirements, please do not hesitate to contact the organiser, Alicia Spencer-Hall (a.spencer-hall [at] ucl.ac.uk).
This conference contributes to the ‘Sense and Sensation’ research strand at UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies. This strand also comprises a Reading Group focused on chronic pain. To join the Reading Group, please email the organiser, Alicia Spencer-Hall (a.spencer-hall [at] ucl.ac.uk).
La vie des Sourds au Moyen Âge
Vendredi 9 juin, de 18h30 à 20h. RDV à l’auditorium, niveau 0.
Dans le cadre du cycle de conférence organisé par la Cité des Sciences « Dans la tête de l’homme médiéval »
L’imaginaire collectif retient du Moyen Âge la chevalerie, les châteaux forts et les cathédrales. La réalité de ces mille ans d’histoire (V° – XVI° siècles) est plus riche et plus contrastée comme en attestent les recherches récentes en archéologie et en histoire. Comment l’homme médiéval se représente le monde ? Quelles sont ses connaissances en astronomie, en médecine ? Quels sont ses croyances et ses rites ?
« Quelle était la vie des Sourds au Moyen Âge ? Serait-elle si obscure comme le disaient les auteurs du XIXe siècle ? Ou alors, bien plus libre que l’on pensait ? La période médiévale était pourtant la matrice de notre langue, le noétomalalien. C’est dans ce contexte particulier entre le développement des centres monastiques, la croissance des villes, les échanges des idées entre les différents royaumes, duchés et comtés, que les communautés sourdes ont pu trouver leur place. De ce que l’on sait, les communautés sourdes du XVIIIe siècle sont le résultat d’un long processus commencé mille années plus tôt. »
Avec Yann Cantin, historien, maître de conférence à l’université de Paris 8
Interprétation Français/LSF assurée.
Accès gratuit sur inscription : https://www.weezevent.com/la-vie-des-sourds-au-moyen-age
Conference – The Medieval Brain – University of York, 9-10-11 March 2017
Reminder of the CFP :
As we research aspects of the medieval brain, we encounter complications generated by medieval thought and twenty-first century medicine and neurology alike. Our understanding of modern-day neurology, psychiatry, disability studies, and psychology rests on shifting sands. Not only do we struggle with medieval terminology concerning the brain, but we have to connect it with a constantly-moving target of modern understanding. Though we strive to avoid interpreting the past using presentist terms, it is difficult – or impossible – to work independently of the framework of our own modern understanding. This makes research into the medieval brain and ways of thinking both challenging and exciting. As we strive to know more about specifically medieval experiences, while simultaneously widening our understanding of the brain today, we much negotiate a great deal of complexity.
In this three-day workshop, to be held at the University of York on Thursday 9th, Friday 10th and Saturday 11th March 2017 under the auspices of the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders, we will explore the topic of ‘the medieval brain’ in the widest possible sense. The ultimate aim is to provide a forum for discussion, stimulating new collaborations from a multitude of voices on, and approaches to, the theme.
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Carole Rawcliffe (University of East Anglia)
Corinne Saunders (Durham University)
Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University)
Disease, Disability & Medicine in the Medieval World
10th Anniversary Annual Meeting, Swansea University 2-3 December 2016
at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
Disability and Religion
FRIDAY 2nd December
10:00 Welcome (Irina Metzler, Swansea University)
10:15-11:15 Opening Keynote Address
Responsibility, Sin, and Impairment in the Middle Ages
Wendy J. Turner (Augusta University)
11:15-12:45 Panel: Disabled Religious: Saints, Monks and Anchoresses
Moderator: Alicia Spencer-Hall
Disability or Super-ability? Saints’ Infirmities as a Tool for Constructing Sanctity
(Jenni Kuuliala, University of Tampere)
Deaf, Monks and Sign Language
(Yann Cantin, Université-Paris 8)
Ancrene Riwle: Disabling the Able, How Un-Medieval!
(Stan Booth, University of Winchester)
13:45-14:40 Panel: Non-conformist Bodies
Moderator: Stan Booth
The Hun and the Hunchback
Mark Humphries (Swansea University)
‘Sumo michi baculum’: Problematizing the Purpose of ‘Walking Sticks’ in the Late Middle Ages
(Rachael Gillibrand, University of Leeds)
14:40-15:35 Panel: Miracles and Metaphors
Moderator: Ninon Dubourg
The Cure-Seeking Experiences of Disabled Children in Twelfth-Century English Miracula
(Ruth Salter, University of Reading)
A Double Absence: Cupid and Blind Lucy Reading John Donne’s ‘Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy’s Day, Being The Shortest Day’
(Chris Mounsey, University of Winchester)
15:35-16:00 Coffee Break
16:00-16:50 Panel: Relevance of Digital Tools for Medieval Manuscript Studies
(Erin Connelly, University of Pennsylvania)
This panel will take the form of a presentation followed by a workshop inviting audience participation and discussion
SATURDAY 3rd December
9:15-10:45 Panel: Disability and Mental ‘Abnormality’
Moderator: Wendy Turner
Graeco-Latin Medical Learning in an Early Irish Pseudo-Etymology of Boicmell ‘Fool’
(Anna Matheson, Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique, Rennes)
The Holy Fool and the Madman: When was Mental Abnormality a Disability?
(Claire Trenery, Royal Holloway, University of London)
Skiptingr, Congeon and Wehselkind: Exploring the Medieval Discourse on Changelings and Idiocy through Vernacular Insults
(Rose Sawyer, University of Leeds)
10:45-11:05 Coffee Break
11:05-12:00 Panel: Disability and Leprosy
Moderator: Trish Skinner
Disability and Ability within the Leper Houses of Medieval Normandy
(Elma Brenner, Wellcome Library)
Redeemed by a Good Death!
(Timothy Jones, University of Cardiff)
13:00-13:55 Panel: Disability in the Earlier Middle Ages
Moderator: Christina Lee
Finding Disability in Early Medieval Sources: The Case of Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester
(Alison Hudson, The British Library)
A Disabled Corpse – An Exploration of the Potential Significance of an Anglo Saxon Burial Cluster from Great Chesterford, Essex
(Stephanie Evelyn-Wright, University of Southampton)
13:55-14:50 Panel: ‘Alien’ Disability
Moderator: Irina Metzler
‘A horse ought to be held dear due to its goodness; because one should desire goodness over beauty’: Utility, Disfigurement, and Occupational Health in Later Medieval Horse Medicine
(Sunny Harrison, University of Leeds)
Mohammed the Epileptic: Religious Propaganda in the Middle Ages
(Hillary Burgardt, Swansea University)
14:50-15:05 Coffee Break
15:05-16:00 Panel: Periodization in Disability History: A Roundtable
David Turner (Swansea University, panel co-ordinator and chair)
Trish Skinner (Swansea University)
Bianca Frohne (Universität Bremen)
Daniel Blackie (University of Oulu)
16:00-16:35 Concluding Keynote Address
Disease, Disability and Medicine: Past, Present and Future(s)
Christina Lee (University of Nottingham)
16:35-16:45 Closing Remarks
Many thanks to the organiser of this year, Irina Metzler.
Session : Historians and Geneticists in Collaborative Research
An editorial in Nature (25 May 2016) notes that historians have been critical of recent interpretations of European migrations by geneticists, but from their armchairs. Princeton Medieval historian Patrick Geary is quoted as urging historians to be more proactive and take part in genetic research: “If historians do not get involved and engage with this technology seriously, we’re going to see more and more studies that are done by geneticists with very little input from historians, or from frankly second-rate historians.” This session includes presentations by two historians and one geneticist, to show how collaborative study linking historians and geneticists can advance the quality of historical studies relying on genetic information. The session is intended to encourage discussion among historians, especially early-career historians, on how involvement in research and study of the genetic-historical literature can lead to rewarding careers that substantially advance knowledge of the human past from this new angle.
Cherry-Picking or Consilience? Human Actors, Invisible Microbes, and (Non-)collaboration in Disease History
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 3:50 PM, Mile High Ballroom 3A (Colorado Convention Center)
Monica H. Green, Arizona State University
Every pre-modern historian knows how rarely we have all the evidence we want. We know that something happened in history’s silences because we know that human societies persisted. So, too, the palaeogeneticist must assume the continuity of life between the few random molecular fossils uncovered from the past, for that is the basic premise of evolutionary theory. But in all fields that deal with gap-ridden evidence, the question remains: what are legitimate methods for construing what happened in those gaps?Although climate scientists and historians now work toward consilience of written and physical data, that happy détente has yet to be achieved in biological history. Yes, the call to resist “cherry picking those milestones in human history that are best recorded” should be heeded. But what happens when this new kind of bioarchaeology treads into territory historians consider theirs, where there are written records? Who cedes to whom?
This paper will focus not on human genetics but on the molecular histories of the pathogens that kill and maim us. I will use the example of the Second Plague Pandemic (14th-19th centuries) to assert that consilience with History, with a capital ‘H’, is urgently needed for one simple reason: because the most disruptive biological actors in epidemic circumstances are humans themselves.