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Meetings – Colloquium – ‘Why is my pain perpetual?’ (Jer 15:18): Chronic Pain in the Middle Ages – SSHM – UCL – 29 sept. 2017

 Meetings – Colloquium – ‘Why is my pain perpetual?’ (Jer 15:18): Chronic Pain in the Middle Ages – SSHM – UCL – 29 sept. 2017

Last Booking Date for this Event
1st August 2017
DescriptionPain 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

Keynote address:

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’.

Confirmed speakers:

-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’


-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 for the conference will open shortly, and be conducted via the UCL Online Shop, in the ‘Conferences and Events’ category. This page will be updated in due course with a link to the registration page.
Registration closes on 1st August 2017.

More infos on the UCL website

CFP – Leeds 2017 – Leprosy and Power

Leeds IMC 2017 – Leprosy and Power

As next year’s IMC theme of ‘Otherness’ lends itself perfectly to the topic of medieval leprosy, I would like to propose a session on the subject of Leprosy and Power, following on from this year’s successful sessions about Leprosy and Identity. In this session, I would like to explore the various ways in which lepers interacted with medieval authorities – how authorities may have attempted to control the behaviour of lepers in their community, how lepers related to those in power, and how they fitted into a social hierarchy.

Possible topics could include:

· Leprosy and the elite

· Municipal authority and common law

· Canon law and the church

· The power of leprosy in society

· Lepers and social status – before / after diagnosis

Proposals should include a title, abstract (approximately 100 words), and institutional affiliation.

Please submit paper proposals by email to Katie Phillips, University of Reading – – by Friday 9th September.

Via Katie Phillips on Academia

CFP – Le CESCM à Kalamazoo en 2017 – Signs of Identity, Marks of Otherness: New Approaches to Visual Culture

Le CESCM à Kalamazoo en 2017 – L’altérité (sociale, religieuse, politique, linguistique) et ses implications dans le domaine du visuel – 11  au 14 mai 2017


Le Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale et l’International Medieval Society-Paris lancent un appel à communication pour une session de communications organisée dans le cadre de l’International Congress on Medieval Studies qui se déroulera à Kalamazoo (USA) du 11  au 14 mai 2017 et qui réunit tous les ans dans le Michigan plus de 3000 médiévistes venus du monde entier. Cet appel conjoint est l’occasion pour le CESCM d’organiser pour la première fois un événement scientifique lors de l’ICMS,  sur le thème de l’altérité (sociale, religieuse, politique, linguistique) et ses implications dans le domaine du visuel.

Les propositions de communication (CV et résumé) sont à adresser à Vincent Debiais avant le 15 septembre 2016 ; merci aussi de renseigner la fiche d’inscription de l’ICMS. Pour tout renseignement, contacter Vincent Debiais :

Signs of Identity, Marks of Otherness: New Approaches to Visual Culture

This session will explore new avenues of research on visual signs marking the identity of social, religious, and political groups in different spaces (real or imaginary), and the ways in which these groups distinguished themselves.  Recent advances in the auxiliary sciences, which take into account social phenomena in the origin, creation and usage of systems of signs, permit  to revisit questions posed by emblems, armor, inscriptions, and images that mark the landscape and establish hierarchical spaces, both separate and connected.  In the dialectic of inclusion/exclusion, signs become references of identity included, integrated, claimed or rejected in reaction to historical circumstances and power relations.  This session brings together specialists from different disciplines to explore how visual signs work in real spaces, such as cities, monasteries, and castles; and literary spaces where such signs appear frequently in motifs and narratives.

This session welcomes interdisciplinary submissions.  Scholars working on original approaches to signs of identity through social history, visual culture, and the auxiliary sciences are encouraged to submit abstracts.  In this way, the session will have very broad appeal to participants at Kalamazoo.  Possible themes are: disputes, divisions, and heraldic claims; banners, standards, and flags; epigraphic marking and destruction; the role of written culture/visual culture in the strength of social groups.


Voir l’appel sur les carnets du CESCM

CFP – Less than two weeks remaining to get your individual paper proposals for IMC Leeds on « Otherness »

The twenty-third International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 3-6 July 2017.

The International Medieval Congress (IMC) is organised and administered by the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS). Since its start in 1994, the Congress has established itself as an annual event with an attendance of over 2,200 medievalists from all over the world. It is the largest conference of its kind in Europe.

Drawing medievalists from over 50 countries, with over 1,700 individual papers and 580 academic sessions and a wide range of concerts, performances, readings, round tables, excursions, bookfair and associated events, the Leeds International Medieval Congress is Europe’s largest annual gathering in the humanities.

The IMC provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of all aspects of Medieval Studies. Paper and session proposals on any topic related to the Middle Ages are welcome. However, every year, the IMC chooses a special thematic strand which – for 2017 – is ‘Otherness’. This focus has been chosen for its wide application across all centuries and regions and its impact on all disciplines devoted to this epoch.

‘Others’ can be found everywhere: outside one’s own community (from foreigners to non-human monsters) and inside it (for example, religious and social minorities, or individual newcomers in towns, villages, or at court). One could encounter the ‘Others’ while travelling, in writing, reading and thinking about them, by assessing and judging them, by ‘feelings’ ranging from curiosity to contempt, and behaviour towards them which, in turn, can lead to integration or exclusion, friendship or hostility, and support or persecution.

The demarcation of the ‘Self’ from ‘Others’ applies to all areas of life, to concepts of thinking and mentalité as well as to social ‘reality’, social intercourse and transmission of knowledge and opinions. Forms and concepts of the ‘Other’, and attitudes towards ‘Others’, imply and reveal concepts of ‘Self’, self-awareness and identity, whether expressed explicitly or implicitly. There is no ‘Other’ without ‘Self’. A classification as ‘Others’ results from a comparison with oneself and one’s own identity groups. Thus, attitudes towards ‘Others’ oscillate between admiring and detesting, and invite questioning into when the ‘Other’ becomes the ‘Strange’.

The aim of the IMC is to cover the entire spectrum of ‘Otherness’ through multi-disciplinary approaches, on a geographical, ethnic, political, social, legal, intellectual and even personal level, to analyse sources from all genres, areas, and regions.

Possible entities to research for ‘Otherness’ could include (but are not limited to):
• Peoples, kingdoms, languages, towns, villages, migrants, refugees, bishoprics, trades, guilds, or seigneurial systems
• Faiths and religions, religious groups (including deviation from the ‘true’ faith) and religious orders
• Different social classes, minorities, or marginal groups
• The spectrum from ‘Strange’ to ‘Familiar’
• Individuals or ‘strangers’ of any kind, newcomers as well as people exhibiting strange behaviour
• Otherness related to art, music, liturgical practices, or forms of worship
• Any further specific determinations of ‘alterity’

Methodologies and Approaches to ‘Otherness’ (not necessarily distinct, but overlapping) could include:
• Definitions, concepts, and constructions of ‘Otherness’
• Indicators of, criteria and reasons for demarcation
• Relation(s) between ‘Otherness’ and concepts of ‘Self’
• Communication, encounters, and social intercourse with ‘Others’ (in embassies, travels, writings, quarrels, conflicts, and persecution)
• Knowledge, perception, and assessment of the ‘Others’
• Attitudes and behaviour towards ‘Others’
• Deviation from any ‘norms’ of life and thought (from the superficial to the fundamental)
• Gender and transgender perspectives
• Co-existence and segregation
• Methodological problems when inquiring into ‘Otherness’
• The Middle Ages as the ‘Other’ compared with contemporary times (‘Othering’ the Middle Ages).

The Special Thematic Strand ‘Otherness‘ will be co-ordinated by Hans-Werner Goetz (Historisches Seminar, Universität Hamburg).


Please find by cliking this link or below all informations:

Session Proposal

Paper Proposal

Round Table Proposal