Archives par mot-clé : Environment

Conference – Cherry-Picking or Consilience? Human Actors, Invisible Microbes, and (Non-)collaboration in Disease History – Monica H. Green – AHA conference

Session : Historians and Geneticists in Collaborative Research

AHA Session 254
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 3A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level) Denver.
Chair:
John R. McNeill, Georgetown University

Session Abstract:

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.

More information on the AHA program !

CFP – Histories of Healthy Ageing – University of Groningen, 21–23 June 2017

Histories of Healthy Ageing

University of Groningen, 21–23 June 2017

As Western populations grow increasingly older, ‘healthy ageing’ is presented as one of today’s greatest medical and societal challenges. However, contrary to what many policy makers want us to believe, the aspiration to live long, healthy and happy lives is not a problem specific to our times. On the contrary successful ageing has a long history.

The conference Histories of Healthy Ageing is based on the assumption that ‘healthy ageing’ has informed the medical agenda since Antiquity. With ‘healthy ageing’ we refer to ways of thinking about and treating the body not only from a medical perspective, but also taking into account questions of what constitutes a happy and fulfilled life. In particular these latter issues were central to medicine before 1800 and relate to healthy living as much as to questions connected specifically to old age. Thus whether we speak of classic ways of training the athlete’s body, medieval religious rites, the pre-modern obsession with regimen (rules for living a healthy life), or the upper-class fancy to visit spas, at the root of it all was a wish for wellbeing, health and longevity.

The conference focuses especially (but not exclusively) on the pre-modern period. Submissions for 20-minute papers should include a 250-word abstract and a short CV. Subject to funding small travel grants might be available for junior researchers.
Possible topics include:

  • Histories of diet and dietetics, ‘sports’, spas and bathing, medication and life-elixirs, etc.
  • The materiality of healthy living and ageing (pills, powders and elixirs, bath houses, exercise apparatus, scales and the like)
  • Aesthetics and the history of cosmetic surgery
  • Prognosis and historical efforts to chart life expectancy
  • Relations between patients and doctors
  • Ars Moriendi and resilience in the face of illness and death
  • Healthy living and ageing outside academic medicine (quacks, alchemy, homeopathy)
  • Narratives of ‘healthy ageing’
  • The philosophical question of what constitutes a long and happy life
  • Life cycles
  • The understanding and application of the six ‘non-naturals’
  • Healthy ageing and the arts

Keynote lectures:

At the conference 5 keynote lectures will centre on the non-naturals, the areas defined by Hippocratic writers as the basis of health management and disease prevention.

  • Food and Drink by Elizabeth Williams (Oklahoma State)
  • Exercise and Rest by Onno van Nijf (Groningen)
  • Sleep and Wakefulness by William Maclehose (UC London)
  • Excretion and Retention by Michael Stolberg (Würzburg)
  • Perturbations of the Mind and Emotions by Irena Metzler (Swansea)

In addition to these specialised lectures there will be a public lecture by Robert Zwijnenberg (Leiden University) on Pre-modern Healthy Ageing and Modern Bio-medical Art.
Exhibition

The conference will be accompanied by an exhibition in the Groningen University Museum and the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG).
It opens June 2017.
Conference Organisers: Rina Knoeff, Ruben Verwaal, Catrien Santing, James Kennaway, Rolf ter Sluis.

Submissions and queries should be sent to: historiesofhealthyageing@gmail.com

Call closes: 1 December 2016

Download the Call for Papers here.

CFP – Kalamazoo – Before and After 1348: Prelude and Consequences of the Black Death

Session on Black Death at International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo), May 11-14, 2017

“Before and After 1348:  Prelude and Consequences of the Black Death,” organized by Monica Green, email: monica.green@asu.edu.
Abstract:  The “new paradigm” of Black Death studies has adopted the findings of recent paleogenetics and evolutionary understandings of Yersinia pestis‘s late medieval genetic diversification to see the Black Death as a much broader epidemiological phenomenon than previously realized. Although Black Death narratives are usually told from the perspective of western Europe, it is in fact likely that much of Eurasia and North Africa was affected by the newly proliferating organism. And in many of those areas, we know now, plague “focalized,” becoming embedded in the local fauna and thus persisting for years, or even centuries, thereafter. This session invites work that looks both at the late medieval pandemic’s origins before 1348 (whether in China or other places in central Eurasia) and its after-effects, including the 1360-63 pestis secunda. Cultural as well as scientific approaches are welcome.

Please send proposals directly to me: monica.green@asu.edu.  Paper proposals (a one-page abstract and a Participant Information Form) are due by September 15. The links to information on the submission process and the Participation Information Form may be found at http://www.wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions. For the statement on Congress rules, see: http://www.wmich.edu/medievalcongress/policies.

You may wish to know that the newly created Contagions: Society for Historic Infectious Disease Studies will also be sponsoring two sessions, tentatively entitled “Historic Landscapes of Disease,” and “The Great Transition: Climate, Disease, and Society in the Late Medieval World: A Roundtable on Bruce Campbell’s New Book.” For info on those sessions, please contact Michelle Ziegler, zieglerm@slu.edu.

 

More information on the American Association for the History of Medicine website

CFP – Landscapes/Seascapes – Leeds IMC 2016

Call for papers: Leeds International Medieval Congress 4-7 July 2016

The Medieval Landscape/Seascape

Following on from a successful strand of sessions for the last two years, it has been suggested that we continue in 2016!

Writing about the medieval landscape and environment has a rich and long tradition and is an area in which many of the disciplines that comprise medieval studies have made significant contributions. Scholars working on ideas of the landscape, concepts of space and place as well as in the developing field of environmental humanities have added to our theoretical framework for understanding people’s relationships with the environment in the past. We hope to organise a series of sessions focusing on medieval landscapes/seascapes broadly conceived. We welcome proposals that draw on historical, literary, archaeological, art-historical and musicological approaches and sources.

For 2016, we would like to focus on these themes related to landscapes/seascapes:

  1. Performance: Walking, perambulation, pilgrimage, plays/drama, battle rituals, movement, hunting, magic, rituals;
  2. Memory: Reclamation of empty places, re-use of place, how places in the past are remembered in the present, recording and memory tools,  forgetting/remembering, memorials, post- Black death and spaces/place, connections to past places (e.g. ancient wells, forests);
  3. Journey/Journeys: Itineraries, migrations, pilgrimage, crusades, travel narratives, roads and movement to and thru places, exploration, navigation, map making;
  4. Food & Famine: Production, fishing, preserving, designed spaces (gardens), field usage, empty spaces post plague or famine, images of landscape/seascape in manuscripts, activities related to food.

Potential contributors might like to think about the following ideas/concepts when suggesting a paper in the above themes:

  • the place of the landscape/seascape in historical writing
  • landscape/maritime archaeology
  • medieval urban landscapes
  • the landscape of particular events
  • experiencing the landscape/seascape
  • tools and theories for understanding the medieval landscape/seascape: e.g. digital humanities, knowledge exchange, mapping, etc.
  • different national landscape traditions, including antiquarian and chorographic traditions, and how they affect our understanding of the medieval past.

 

It is hoped that, through these sessions we will raise and begin to answer a number of key questions about landscapes/seascapes in the Middle Ages. What is the relationship between the experience and conceptualisation of landscapes/seascape? What gaps exist in the evidence for the landscape/seascape as a physical, economic, social and cultural phenomenon, and can interdisciplinary work help us to bridge these? What innovative methods and approaches can we bring to the study of medieval landscape/seascape?

Please send abstracts for 20 minute papers to Kimm Curran, University of Glasgow by no later than 15 September 2015. By clicking here and provide the following:

  • Title
  • Abstract (max 200 words)
  • Your name, institution, and role
  • Full postal and electronic contact details (these will be used by Leeds IMC to contact you, post the programme, etc.)

All information on their website !