New book – Donna Trembinski, Illness and Authority: Disability in the Life and Lives of Francis of Assisi, University of Toronton Press, 2020.

Illness and Authority: Disability in the Life and Lives of Francis of Assisi, University of Toronton Press, 2020.

Illness and Authority examines the lived experience and early stories about St. Francis of Assisi through the lens of disability studies. This new approach re-centres Francis’s illnesses and infirmities and highlights how they became barriers to wielding traditional modes of masculine authority within both the Franciscan Order he founded and the church hierarchy. So concerned were members of the Franciscan leadership that the future saint was compelled to seek out medical treatment and spent the last two years of his life in the nearly constant care of doctors. Unlike other studies of Francis’s ailments, Illness and Authority focuses on the impact of his illnesses on his autonomy and secular power, rather than his spiritual authority.

From downplaying the comfort Francis received from music to disappearing doctors in the narratives of his life, early biographers worked to minimize the realities of his infirmities. When they could not do so, they turned the saint’s experiences into teachable moments that demonstrated his saintly and steadfast devotion and his trust in God. Illness and Authority explores the struggles that early authors of Francis’s vitae experienced as they tried to make sense of a saint whose life did not fit the traditional rhythms of a founder-saint.

  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.0in x 9.1in

More information on the editor website

 

Round table – A roundtable conversation featuring Richard Godden, Jonathan Hsy, Cameron Hunt McNabb, and Kristina Richardson org by the by Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies « The future of Medieval Disability History » (link to the Youtube video)

 
A roundtable conversation featuring Richard Godden, Jonathan Hsy, Cameron Hunt McNabb, and Kristina Richardson
by the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies
 

 

The Future of Medieval Disability Studies

This roundtable discussion brings together four scholars of medieval disability studies: Richard Godden, Jonathan Hsy, Cameron Hunt McNabb, and Kristina Richardson. Our speakers will discuss the state of the field, and the ways in which we can imagine different, more inclusive, futures.

About the speakers

Richard H. Godden is an Assistant Professor in English at Louisiana State University. His current book project, Material Subjects: An Ecology of Prosthesis in Medieval Literature and Culture, focuses on the material objects with which medieval bodies were so intimate, and explores the intersections of disability and the agency of things in the Middle Ages. He is co-editor, with Asa Mittman, of Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World (Palgrave, 2019), and also of The Open Access Companion to The Canterbury Tales. In addition to his work on the Middle Ages, he also works on questions of inclusive pedagogy and Universal Design. He has really strong feelings about laptops in classrooms.

Jonathan Hsy is a scholar-activist who seeks to build new kinds of knowledge, and new forms of community, that center lived understandings of disability, race, and embodied variance. He has served on the MLA Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession and is co-editor of A Cultural History of Disability in the Middle Ages (Bloomsbury 2020). He is co-author of essays on medieval disability and digital humanities with Richard H. Godden, and he is the author of Antiracist Medievalisms (Arc Humanities 2021). He is completing a book on autobiographical writings by medieval authors who identify as blind or deaf.

Cameron Hunt McNabb‘s academic interests include disability studies, early drama, and pedagogy, and she is the editor for The Medieval Disability Sourcebook: Western Europe, an open-access volume on disability in the European Middle Ages. She has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, and Neophilologus, and her essay « Night of the Living Bread: Unstable Signs in Chester’s ‘Antichrist' » won Early Theatre’s Best Interpretive Essay for 2015-2017. She currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Humanities Department at Southeastern University.

Kristina Richardson is an associate professor of history at Queens College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York. She held an ERC-funded Marie Curie fellowship at the University of Münster from 2012 to 2014, and was a research fellow at the University of Bonn from 2014 to 2015. Professor Richardson is the author of Difference and Disability in the Medieval Islamic World (Edinburgh University Press, 2012), and she has published articles on blue and green eyes in medieval Islamic societies, the state of Middle Eastern disability history, and 16th-century Arabic historical manuscripts. Her co-authored study of a 16th-century Aleppine silk-weaver’s diary will soon be published with Orient-Institut Beirut. She is also completing a monograph entitled Gypsies in the Medieval Islamic World: A History of a People (I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury).

Link to the video: https://t.co/yJVzqnD78P

CFP – Illness as Metaphor in the Latin Middle Ages – Leeds International Medieval Congress 2021

… et sermo eorum ut cancer serpit (2 Tim 2:17)

Susan Sontag hoped her thought-provoking essay Illness as Metaphor (1978) to contribute to the „elucidation (…) and liberation” from metaphors in both social attitudes to illness and its individual experience. Although we can hardly think our existence without resorting to metaphorical language, critical analysis may help to understand how and to what extent the contemporary discourse is shaped by the historical figures of disease. This seems all the more important as this imagery will certainly stay with us in the post-pandemic world.

The session seeks to provide a forum for scholars to reflect on the variation and functions of metaphors of illness in the Latin writing of the Middle Ages. We encourage papers that investigate how the imagery of morbus, pestilentia, gangraena etc. structured individual experience and how it shaped self-knowledge and practices of communities. We invite original contributions that critically examine the role that Latin metaphors of illness played in medieval discourse as a tool of explaining reality and as a rhetorical device used to impose specific world views.

Questions we would like to suggest include, but are not limited to:

  • What was the scope of the metaphors? Which fields of individual experience and social life in the Middle Ages were particularly represented in terms of illness?
  • What are the sources, prototypical examples and creative uses of the figures of disease in medieval Latin texts?
  • How did the use of metaphors vary across text genres, times and space?
  • To what aims did medieval Latin writers employ metaphors of illness? What was their role in persuasive writing (religious and political polemics, preaching etc.)?• Could metaphorical discourse shape social attitudes in the Middle Ages? Which aspects of the reality did medieval metaphors highlight and which did they hide?
  • How was the imagery of disease employed in explaining natural and social phenomena? What was its role in structuring individual (religious, emotional etc.) experience?

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to Krzysztof Nowak (krzysztof.nowak@ijp.pan.pl) by the 10th of September 2020. Unfortunately, the project cannot cover congress fees or expenses incurred by the session participants.

Session Sponsor Project eFontes. The electronic corpus of Polish medieval Latin (https://scriptores.pl/efontes)

Session Organizer Krzysztof Nowak, Department of Medieval Latin
Institute of Polish Language (Polish Academy of Sciences)

More on Scriptores website

CFP – In Sickness and in Health: Pestilence, Disease, and Healing in Medieval and Early Modern Art – 14th Annual Imago Conference, University of Haifa, January 12, 2021

In light of the global turmoil caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, the 14th Annual Imago conference will examine the cultural and artistic impact of epidemics, diseases, and healing in the art of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. We hope this examination will not only shed new light on the artistic, social, and political mechanisms of both of these periods, but will also produce fresh insights into cultural and artistic responses to the current global health crisis.

Disease is an inevitable part of the human experience. Whether in times of acute crisis, the most familiar of which is the Black Death of the mid-14th century, or as a constant threat at all other times, diseases evoked varied responses, from theological formulations to the transmission of medicinal knowledge; and, not least, to artistic depictions.

We invite papers from broad and diverse points of view: case studies of iconographies dealing with disease or healing, studies of the artistic responses to specific epidemics, and comparative studies between East and West, the Christian and the Islamic worlds, etc. Interdisciplinary studies and those engaging with the production, reception, and interpretation of art concerned with disease and healing are of particular interest. Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to:

· Artistic expressions of medicinal practices

· Visual components in medical manuscripts

· Artistic responses to the Black Death and to other epidemics

· Physical and spiritual health – Medieval and Early Modern expressions

· Disease and otherness – xenophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic polemical visual expressions

· Disease – theological and moral conceptions

· Gendered aspects of disease and healing

· Disease and healing between East and West – artistic expressions

· Leprosy and its cultural and artistic representations

· Saints, relics, pilgrimage, and healing

· Disease and apotropaic practices

· Places of sickness and death: art in hospitals and cemeteries

· Images of doctors and nurses

· Representations of suffering and sickness

The conference will take place on January 12, 2021, at the University of Haifa.

* Should the ongoing Covid-19 situation prevent the conference from being held on campus, it will be held online via Zoom.

* All speakers will be allowed to deliver their paper via Zoom, even if the conference will take place physically on campus.

*We will broadcast the entire conference to participants via Zoom.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Dr. Gil Fishhof (gfishhof@staff.haifa.ac.il) no later than September 1st,2020. Abstracts should include the applicant’s name, professional affiliation, and a short CV. Each paper should be limited to a 20-minute presentation, to be followed by a discussion and questions. All applicants will be notified by October 1st 2020 regarding acceptance of their proposal. For additional information or further inquiries, please contact Dr. Fishhof.

Organizing committee: Dr. Gil Fishhof, Ms. Mazi Kuzi, Prof. Jochai Rosen, Dr. Margo Stroumsa-Uzan.