Call for Papers – Angelical Conjunctions: Crossroads of Medicine and Religion, 1200-1800

McGill University on April 13-15, 2019

“Angelical Conjunction” was the term coined by the seventeenth-century New England Puritan Cotton Mather to denote the mutual affinity of medicine and religion. Indeed, medical and spiritual practices have a long history of coexistence in many religious traditions. This connection took many forms, from the pious provision of health care (in person or through endowed charity), to the archetypal figure of the healing prophet. Yet despite decades of specialized research, a coherent and analytical history of the “angelical conjunction” itself remains elusive.   This conference therefore aims to explore the connection between medicine and religion across the time-span of the late medieval and early modern eras, and  from an intercultural perspective. Taking as our focus the Mediterranean, the Islamic World and Europe, and the various Christianities, Islams and Judaisms that flourished there, we aim to develop methodological and theoretical perspectives on the “angelical conjunction(s)” of these two spheres. How did the entanglement of religion and medicine shape epistemologies in both of these spheres? What are the conceptions of the body and its relationship to the soul that these entanglements assumed or envisioned? What were the limits to coexistence? How did the “conjunction” change over time?

We invite papers on a range of themes that include, but are not limited to:

–         The relationship between spiritual charisma and medical practice
–         The involvement of medical practitioners in theological debates
–         Medicine and “fringe” religious traditions (e.g. Hermetic, heretical, “occult”…)
–         Representations of the healer-prophet or healer-saint in art
–         Debates on body and soul informed by medical and theological knowledge
–         Spiritualization of physical illness
–         Devotion as therapy, and (the provision of) therapy as devotion

Accommodation and meals will be provided. We are seeking grant support to subsidize travel.

Please submit an abstract of 300 words and a CV to Dr. Aslıhan Gürbüzel at angelicalconjunctions@gmail.com by January 10, 2018.

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Ninon Dubourg (sharing info)

Ninon Dubourg is a current PhD candidate researcher in medieval history at the University of Paris Diderot - Paris 7, France. Her research interests include the laical and clerical physical impairments and disability in Medieval Europe (XII – XIV C), based on the petition and papal letters conserved in the Papal Archives of the Archivum Secretum Vaticanum. This kind of ecclesiastical document offers us a significant insight into the Church's comprehension of the social experience of disability. Disabled clerics had to ask the Pope for dispensation to contravene canon law - with regard to income or religious practices – necessitated by the circumstances of their disability. Papal dispensation letters, written in answer to such petitions, offered the cleric a number of ways out, from dispensation to pension, including resignation, in connection with the pope's administration and the potestas the Church had to solve this issues. The real lived experiences of a disabled cleric had to be reformulated in the petition in order to allow the Church to recognise his disability, and thus for him to receive papal grace. Working on many relative questions, she likes to approach new topics as disabled identity, medieval masculinities, medicine in the Middle Ages, biblical studies, canon law, medieval linguistic and so on. (https://univ-paris-diderot.academia.edu/NinonDubourg) She also teach Methodology to first year and Master degree and Medieval History at the University Paris Diderot - Paris 7 as ATER (temporary attaché). She is also a foreign associate member of the research network "Homo Debilis" at the Bremen University (http://www.homo-debilis.de/personen/index-en.html). Also member of the réseau jeunes chercheurs Handicap(s) et Sociétés, Programme Handicaps et Sociétés - EHESS, Paris. She is also in charge of the research blog History of Disease, Disability & Medicine in Medieval Europe, with the aim to promote this filed of research in France and in Europe and will make sure to share latest publishing events, future meeting (such as conference, colloquium, round table), and to relay call for paper or contribution on disability in pre-modern societies, with particular focus on Middle Ages. (https://dishist.hypotheses.org/) Ninon Dubourg est doctorante ATER en histoire médiévale à l'Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7, laboratoire ICT (Identité, Culture et Territoire, EA 337). Ses recherches sont menées sous la direction de Didier Lett (Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7) et de Julien Théry (Université Lumière Lyon 2). Ancienne allocataire chargée d'un mission d'enseignement (École Doctorale Économies, Espaces, Sociétés, Civilisations, ED 382) et boursière de l’École Française de Rome (Novembre 2014), son travail de thèse s'intitule « Handicap et infirmité clérical et laïque dans les suppliques et lettres pontificales de l'Europe médiévale (xiie – xive siècle) ». Ninon cherche dans son travail de thèse à questionner l'intégration de personnes infirmes dans le clergé et dans la société laïque ainsi que l'utilité que retire l’Église à aller contre les lois relatives à l'incapacité physique qu'elle a elle même édicté. Les sources qu'elle utilise, issues des registres de suppliques et de lettres des Archives secrètes du Vatican, entre normes et pratiques, permettent de voir comment la personne handicapée, clerc ou laïque, compte sur l'institution dont elle fait partie pour encadrer sa vie – et inversement, de capter le regard que pose l'institution sur ces personnes. Elle est aussi membre associée au réseau de recherche "Homo Debilis" de l'Université de Brême (Allemagne) (http://www.homo-debilis.de/personen/index-en.html). Aussi membre du réseau jeunes chercheurs Handicap(s) et Sociétés, Programme Handicaps et Sociétés - EHESS, Paris (http://phs.ehess.fr/?page_id=402). Elle est aussi gestionnaire du carnet de recherche hypothèse sur L'histoire du handicap, des maladies et de la médecine dans l'Europe médiévale. Son carnet souhaite promouvoir ce champ de recherche en France et en Europe et propose de veiller à partager les nouveautés éditoriales, les futures rencontres (conférences, colloque, journées d'études, tables ronde), mais aussi de relayer les appels à communication ou à contribution du handicap dans les sociétés pré-modernes, en se focalisant particulièrement sur l'époque médiévale. (https://dishist.hypotheses.org/)

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