Call for contribution for an Essay Collection to be submitted with Brill, for the Book Series Narratives and Mental Health

CfP for an Essay Collection to be submitted with Brill, for the Book Series Narratives and Mental Health

The Cultural Heritage of Psychiatry and its Literary Transformations: Middle Ages to the Present

Ed. Katrin Röder & Cornelia Wächter

This volume explores the history of English, American and Anglophone literary representations of mental distress and its medical investigation and treatment as significant parts of the cultural heritage of psychiatry since the Middle Ages. In line with Aleida Assmann’s approach, the volume perceives cultural heritage as ‘that part of the material and immaterial cultural memory that has been selected and destined for active transfer and circulation’ (2020, 9, transl. K.R.). The Cultural Heritage of Psychiatry and its Literary Transformations: Middle Ages to the Present (working title)approaches the cultural heritage of psychiatry as a complicated gift that connects the past to the present and the future. Like all forms of cultural heritage and functional memory, the cultural heritage of psychiatry calls for a responsible use of its components, for their preservation and protection against damage and suppression as well as for perpetual transformation, renewal and change (Assmann: 2013, 330; Assmann 2020, 9).

The cultural heritage of psychiatry is often regarded as problematic, difficult and burdensome, not least because of the long history of medicalization, institutionalized confinement, constraint and abuse of ‘patients’/users (Foucault 1988; Showalter 1985; Reaume 2010; Lewis 2010; Punzi 2019, 243-244, 248-249; Punzi/Röder 2019, 197-201). While all cultural heritage is selective and incomplete (Assmann 2008, 106), the fragmentariness of the heritage of psychiatry is to a considerable degree the result of processes of social, political and rhetorical exclusion, that is, of the silencing, suppression, stigmatization, moral condemnation and invalidation of ‘patients »/’users’ voices/self-presentations in different periods of cultural and intellectual history (Foucault 1988, passim; Showalter 1985, passim; Punzi 2019; Guest Pryal 2010, 479-480).

In this context, literature is assigned a preeminent role as ‘the mnemonic art par excellence’ (Lachmann 2008, 301). As a reintegrative interdiscourse, it simultaneously creates and observes memory, representing a ‘body of commemorative actions that include the knowledge stored by a culture, and virtually all texts a culture has produced and by which a culture is constituted’ (ibid.; Erll 2008, 391). Hence, practices of writing, reading and creative appropriation revolving around the topics of mental distress/madness and forms of treatment performatively construct the cultural memory and cultural heritage of psychiatry. They interact with extant cultural texts in diverse ways, e.g. through convergence, divergence, interrogation, assimilation or repulsion (Lachmann 2008, 301; Neumann 2008, 334, 337-338; Paris 2017). In these interactions, intertextuality plays a central role because it ‘demonstrates the process by which a culture […] continually rewrites and retranscribes itself […]’ (Lachmann 2008, 301).

The planned volume will explore how literary texts shape the cultural memory and heritage of psychiatry, how they interact with dominant and alternative forms and traditions of treatment and care and how they bear witness to and fragmentarily retrieve/imagine suppressed, medicalized voices, thereby producing counter-cultural memories (Saunders 2008, 327). By investigating the interdependence and complex interaction between literary and non-literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts, the anthology will emphasize the close connection between history and cultural heritage that was often either neglected or questioned in the past (Assmann 2020, 10).

By integrating the perspective of critical heritage studies, this volume will interrogate collective forms of cultural identity and literary canon formation with regard to what is forgotten, rejected and excluded (Assmann 2020, 10). It perceives the cultural heritage of psychiatry as a dynamic, globalized, dissonant processthat is relative to as well as formative of changing and fragmentary systems of value and significance (Wells 2017).

Although there is a comprehensive body of recent and prevailing book-length studies about the relationship between English, American and Anglophone literature, psychiatric discourse and conceptions of madness/mental distress in specific periods, genres and historical and cultural contexts (e. g. Rogers 2019; Crawford 2019; Gaedtke 2017; Whitehead 2017; Stanback 2016; Iseli 2015; Dickson/Ingram 2012; Ingram/Sim/Lawlor et al. 2011; Sedlmayr 2011; Veit-Wild 2006; Neely 2004; Lange 1997; Ziolkowski 1990), investigations of the practices of remembering the cultural heritage of psychiatry in relation to historical changes in the representation of mental distress and its treatment remain a desideratum. This volume seeks to provide central insights into these topics.

We invite chapters (each with a length of ca. 7000 words) exploring the following questions:

  • How do literary texts from different periods of literary history interact with the history and cultural heritage of psychiatry and with the cultural representations of mental distress in their specific historical moments (e.g. through intertextuality, imaginative appropriation …)?
  • How do they bear witness to, negotiate, criticize, challenge, imaginatively re-configurate, transform and re-invent this heritage?
  • How do literary texts problematize the relationship between memory, heritage, forgetting, fragmentation and suppression?
  • How do they represent the heritage of psychiatry and the cultural imaginary of mental distress in ways that make this heritage relevant for their historical present and their envisaged future?

Each chapter should start with a concise overview of concepts and discourses of mental distress/madness and the heritage of psychiatry in the respective periods of literary/cultural history. Thereafter, they should provide an analysis of selected literary texts (one or more, any genre) with regard to their techniques of representing and remembering conceptions of mental distress/madness and psychiatric treatment in their respective historical present and in reciprocal intertextual connections with their respective historical past (and perhaps their respective envisaged future). Whenever possible, discussions of intersectional relationships between concepts of mental distress/madness, psychiatric treatment and gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race and migrant identities should be included.

Please send your abstract (500-600 words) until 1 September 2020 to kroeder@uni-potsdam.de or cornelia.waechter@rub.de

 

More infos on H-Net

 

Bibliography (secondary literature)

Assmann, Aleida. ‘Zur Mediengeschichte des kulturellen Gedächtnisses’. Medien des kollektiven Gedächtnisses. Ed. A. Erll. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2004, 45-61.

―: Cultural Memory and Western Civilization: Arts of Memory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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Baker, Charley: Madness in Post-1945 British and American Fiction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Camus, Marianne: Gender and Madness in the Novels of Charles Dickens. Lewiston, NY: Mellen Press, 2004.

Crawford, Joseph: Inspiration and Insanity in British Poetry 1825 – 1855. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Dickson, Leigh Wetherall, and Allan Ingram: Depression and Melancholy, 1660-1800. 4 vols. London & New York: Routledge, 2012.

Erll, Astrid: ‘Literature, Film, and the Mediality of Cultural Memory’. Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook. Ed. Astrid Erll and Ansgar Nünning. Berlin & New York: De Gruyter, 2008, 389-398.

Erll, Astrid: Kollektives Gedächtnis und Erinnerungskulturen: Eine Einführung. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2017.

Feder, Lillian: Madness in Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980.

Foucault, Michel: Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Vintage, 1988.

Gaedtke, Andrew: Modernism and the Machinery of Madness: Psychosis, Technology, and Narrative Worlds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Graham, Peter W.: Psychiatry and Literature. Germantown, NY: Periodicals Service Company, 2005.

Guest Pryal, Katie Rose (2010): “The Genre of the Mood Memoir and the Ethos of Psychiatric Disability”. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 40.5 (2010): 479-501.

Gymnich, Marion: Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre; Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights. Stuttgart: Klett, 2007.

Hauser, Robert: ‘Der Modus der kulturellen Überlieferung in der digitalen Ära – zur Zukunft der Wissensgesellschaft’, Neues Erbe: Aspekte, Perspektiven und Konsequenzen der digitalen Überlieferung. Hrsg. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, Robert Hauser. Karlsruhe: KIT 2011, 15-38.

Hawes, Clement: Mania and Literary Style: The Rhetoric of Enthusiasm from the Ranters to Christopher Smart. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Ingram, Allan: The Madhouse of Language: Writing and Reading Madness in the 18th Century. London & New York: Routledge, 1991.

Ingram, Allan (ed.): Voices of Madness: Four Pamphlets, 1683-1796. Phoenix Mill et al.: Sutton,1997.

Ingram, Allan: Patterns of Madness in the Eighteenth Century: A Reader. Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 1998.

Ingram, Allan, and Michelle Faubert: Cultural Constructions of Madness in Eighteenth Century Writing: Representing the Insane. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Ingram, Allen, Stuart Sim, Clark Lawlor et al.: Melancholy Experience in Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century: Before Depression, 1660 – 1800. Basingstoke, Hampshire et al.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Iseli, Markus: Thomas DeQuincey and the Cognitive Unconscious. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Kaplan, Bert (ed.): The Inner World of Mental Illness. New York: Harper and Row 1964.

Kilian, Eveline: ‘Diskursanalyse’. Literaturwissenschaft in Theorie und Praxis. Tübingen: Narr, 2004, 61-81.

Kwast-Greff, Chantal: Distorted Bodies and Suffering Souls: Women in Australian Fiction, 1984-1994 (Editions Rodopi B.V.; 2013).

Lachmann, Renate: ‘Mnemonic and Intertextual Aspects of Literature’. Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook. Ed. Astrid Erll and Ansgar Nünning. Berlin & New York: De Gruyter, 2008, 301-310.

Lange, Robert J. G.: Gender Identity and Madness in the Nineteenth-Century Novel. Lewiston, NY [u.a.]: Edwin Mellen Press, 1998.

LeFrançois, Brenda E., Robert Menzies, and Geoffrey Reaume(eds.): Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2013.

Lewis, Bradley: ‘A Mad Fight: Psychiatry and Disability Activism,’ The Disability Studies Reader. Ed. Lennard J. Davis. London & New York: Routledge, 2010, 160-178.

Link, Jürgen: Elementare Literatur und Generative Diskursanalyse. München: Fink, 1983.

Logan, Peter Melville: Nerves and Narratives: A Cultural History of Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century British Prose. Berkeley et al.: University of California Press, 1997.

Macnaughton, Jane, and Corinne Saunders (eds.): Madness and Creativity in Literature and Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

McCann, Daniel: Fear in the Medical and Literary Imagination: Medieval to Modern. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Mills, China, and Suman Fernando (eds.): ‘Globalising Mental Health or Pathologising the Global South? Mapping the Ethics, Theory and Practice of Global Mental Health’. Special Issue. Disability and the Global South 1.2 (2014).

Neely, Carol Thomas: Distracted Subjects: Madness and Gender in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture. Ithaca, NY, et al.: Cornell University Press, 2004.

Neumann, Birgit: ‘The Literary Representation of Memory’. Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook. Ed. Astrid Erll and Ansgar Nünning. Berlin & New York: De Gruyter, 2008, 333-343.

Paris, Andreea: ‘Literature as Memory and Literary Memories: From Cultural Memory to Reader-Response Criticism’. Literature and Cultural Memory. Ed. Mihaela Irimia, Andreea Paris und Dragoş Manea. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2017, 95-106.

Pedlar, Valerie: The Most Dreadful Visitation: Male Madness in Victorian Fiction. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2006.  

Punzi, Elisabeth: ‘Ghost Walks or Thoughtful Remembrance: How Should the Heritage of Psychiatry be Approached?’ The Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy 19.4 (2019): 242-251.

Punzi, Elisabeth, and Katrin Röder: ‘Challenging Complicity with Mentalism: Mental Distress Memoirs and Performance Art’. Complicity and the Politics of Representation. Ed. Cornelia Wächter and Robert Wirth. London & New York: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2019, 195-216.

Reaume, Geoffrey: ‘Psychiatric Patients-Built Wall Tours at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto, 2000–2010’. Left History 15: 129–148

―: Remembrance of Patients Past: Patient Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870 – 1940. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Rogers, Kathleen Beres: Creating Romantic Obsession. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Saunders, Max: ‘Life-Writing, Cultural Memory, and Literary Studies’. Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook. Ed. Astrid Erll and Ansgar Nünning. Berlin & New York: De Gruyter, 2008, 321-331.

Sedlmayr, Gerold: The Discourse of Madness in Britain, 1790-1815: Medicine, Politics, Literature. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2011.

Senaha, Eijun: Sex, Drugs, and Madness in Poetry from William Blake to Christina Rossetti: Women’s Pain, Women’s Pleasure. Lewiston et al.: Mellen, 1996.

Showalter, Elaine: The Female Malady: Women, Madness, and English Culture, 1830 – 1980. New York: Pantheon Books, 1985.

Stanback, Emily B.: The Wordsworth-Coleridge Circle and the Aesthetics of Disability. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Tambling, Jeremy: Blake’s Night Thoughts. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Tauchert, Ashley: Mary Wollstonecraft and the Accent of the Feminine. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

Veit-Wild, Flora: Writing Madness: Borderlines of the Body in African Literature. Oxford: Currey, 2006.

Wells, Jeremy: ‘What is Critical Heritage Studies and how does it incorporate the discipline of history?’ 28 June 2917. Web. https://heritagestudies.org/index.php/2017/06/28/what-is-critical-heritage-studies-and-how-does-it-incorporate-the-discipline-of-history/

Whitehead, James: Madness and the Romantic Poet: A Critical History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Winkler, Amanda Eubanks: O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note: Music for Witches, the Melancholic and the Mad on the Seventeenth-Century English Stage. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.

Wood, Mary Elene: Life Writing and Schizophrenia: Encounters at the Edge of Meaning. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B.V.; 2013.

Ziolkowski, Theodore: German Romanticism and Its Institutions. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.

 

Surveys

The Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health, edited by. Greg Eghigian (London & New York: Routledge,2017).

Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies. Ed. Nick Watson, Simo Vehmas. 2nd ed. (London & New York: Routledge, 2019).

Routledge International Handbook of Critical Mental Health, edited by Bruce M.Z. Cohen (London & New York: Routledge, 2019).

A Cultural History of Disability in the Renaissance, edited by Susan Anderson and Liam Haydon (London, Oxford: Bloomsbury, 2020).

A Cultural History of Disability in the Long Eighteenth Century, edited by D. Christopher Gabbard and Susannah B. Mintz (London, Oxford: Bloomsbury, 2020).

A Cultural History of Disability in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Joyce Huff and Martha Stoddard Holmes (London, Oxford: Bloomsbury, 2020).

A Cultural History of Disability in the Modern Age, edited by David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder (London & Oxford: Bloomsbury, 2020).

A Mad People’s History of Madness, edited by Dale Peterson (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982).

Madness: A Brief History, edited by Roy Porter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Call for Papers: Experiencing the material body in early modern Europe – Stockholm University, October 7-9, 2020

Call for Papers: Experiencing the material body in early modern Europe

Datum: 31 mars 2020
Plats: Deadline for proposals
Call for papers to a conference held at Stockholm University, October 7-9, 2020.

 

 
Image from Hieronymus Bock, Kreutterbuch, courtesy of the The Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library.

Key-note speakers

Sasha Handley (Manchester)
Craig Koslofsky (Illinois)
Maren Lorenz (Ruhr Universität Bochum)

In the early modern world, society, monarchy and the family were understood in the form of corporeal metaphors. The body was also the site of conflicts over life and death, sin and redemption, and the object of severe punishment and domination. Simultaneously, the period saw rapid change: the European expansion heightened tensions over the body and its transformation in relation to foreign lands, foods and peoples. Mechanical conceptions of the body as a tool governed by the mind, and insistence on the senses as the prime source of knowledge emerged in scientific research and reached a broader audience. Within this context, the body in early modernity is oftentimes described as porous, malleable and in flux. Climate, food, objects, and social interaction are all described as having had corporeal effects, from the changing of skin tones, the movement of bodily fluids, to the honing of performance to suit social and gender roles. From wherever we look, it seems that early modern people’s bodies were under significant pressure from outward influences, as well as from their own ambitions to control them. Using approaches like embodiment, performance, sensory and cognitive history, history of emotions, material culture and history of medicine, scholars have investigated various forms of corporeal experience. This workshop seeks to bring together these interlinked fields in order to reflect upon the lived-in body in early modern Europe.

We aim to draw together research from various fields to consider the status of the material body in relation to its surroundings, to gauge the significance of the various ways it was influenced externally and internally, and to better understand how early modern people of different gender, class, creed and ethnicity understood bodies to work. The workshop will engage with the body within a wide range of contexts, from the profound relationships between the macro- and microcosms, to everyday experience like work, eating and sex. We will consider the body as willed and cultivated, but also highlight the body’s vulnerabilities and propensity to sometimes do unforeseen things.

Information

Abstracts of circa 250 words are invited for papers of 20 minutes to be delivered at the workshop in  Stockholm. Send together with short CV to:  matbod@historia.su.se

Deadline for proposals: March 31, 2020.

All costs for travel and accommodation will be covered for presenters.

For more information, contact Karin Sennefelt, karin.sennefelt@historia.su.se.

Organizers

The workshop is organized by the project The Word made Flesh: The Body in Lutheran Culture, 1600-1750 at the Department of History, Stockholm University and funded by the Swedish Research Council and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

More information on the organisator website.

CFP – « Technologies of Disability, Material Histories of the Premodern Body », at Wellcome Collection & the Warburg Institute – 02-03 June, 2020.

Born within a decade of each other, pioneering art historian Aby Worburg and pharmaceutical entrepreneur Sir Henry Wellcome had bold visions for the material and visual study of culture and science. While Warburg was exploring alternatives to stylistic accounts of art through his « laboratory » of a growing library and photo archive inclusive of histories of science, Wellcome was amassing one of the most diverse collections devoted to the history of health. Today, their research communities continue to care for those legacies with a critical eye to their conceptual premises and contested histories.

This two day workshop juxtaposes Worburg’s anthropological thought and his theories on tools or devices developed against the backdrop of the First World War, with Wellcome’s simultaneous collecting of medieval and early modern technologies of disability. Ranging from surgical tools to clappers owned by sufferers of leprosy, from materia medica manuscripts to experiments in metal prosthesis, Wellcome conceived of these objects as part of a « universal » history of the human being. We are interosted in the roles played by such items in framing disabled persons in the past, as well as their use in recovering marginalised histories for the present. Through considering instruments of medical practice, visual means of social exclusion, and technologies of mobility, we hope to challenge conventional accounts of the history of science and art. Workshop participants are encouraged to explore the intellectual potential alongside the affective and inclusive concerns of the material histories of disability. By engaging hands-on with collection and archive materials, we will ask among other questions: Who had the knowledge to produce instruments or tools of disability? How much did makers, health practitioners, and users collaborate in devising them? How practical were these technologies? Whose aesthetic sensibilities did they serve? In what ways did these objects participate in the cultural construction of disability? What are the ethical stokes of terminology in histories of an and science, as well as in our archiving of historical disability? In what ways are our inquiries today shaped by Warburg and Wollcomes turn of the century scholarly enterprises?


Participants are invited to join research staff, fellows, and faculty for two days devoted to Wellcome’s rich collections and the Worburg’s intellectual resources in premodern European culture. Due to work with original objects, space is limited. We are seeking researchers from across the arts, humanities, and social sciences to join programmed speakers. PhD students, postdocs, and other early career scholars are especially encouraged to apply.

Please send a 300 word proposal outlining the relevance of the workshop to your research and your motivations for attending along with any accessibility needs and a CV to Jess Bailey (j.baileyewellcome.ac.uk) by 03 April 2020. The workshop is generously supported by Wellcome Collection and the Warburg Institute. It is organized by Jess Bailey (WellcomeTrust, University of California at Berkeley) and Felix Jager (Bilderfahrzeuge, The Warburg Institute, London.)

CFP – ICMS 2020, Kalamazoo – Saintly Wounds – Sponsored by the Hagiography Society

CFP: ICMS 2020, Kalamazoo (May 7-10) CFP
Sponsored by the Hagiography Society
 
Saintly Wounds
 
Saints are inextricably linked with healing and healing miracles. Often, these miracles involve some type of wound. Wounds can be inflicted upon the saint him/herself, cured by the saint, or even intentionally caused by the saint. This session seeks to address this discussion of saintly wounds as a way to read hagiography, saints in context, and what saintly bodies can do. This panel aims for interdisciplinary and intersectional discussions, encouraging submission by those working in a wide variety of theoretical fields.
 
Possible questions include, but are not limited to:
· What is the relationship between sainthood and physicality and/or physicality and the divine?
· What is the role of disability, gender, and/or race?
· What role does performance, spectacle, and/or audience play?
· What limits, transgressions, or paradoxes do wounded bodies illuminate?
· What does the saint’s wound(s) reveal about attitudes toward the body?
 
Please send abstracts of 250-300 words, along with a completed Participant Information form, to session organizer Stephanie Grace-Petinos (stephanie.grace.petinos@gmail.com) by Sept 10, 2019. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.
 
For this, and the other HS sessions, visit: https://www.hagiographysociety.org/?page_id=97

CFC – Dis/ability in the medieval Nordic world – A special issue of Mirator Editors: Anna Katharina Heiniger and Christopher Crocker

The special issue emerges from the interdisciplinary research project Disability before disability (Icel. Fötlun fyrir tíma fötlunar) situated at the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland, initiated in 2017, and supported by the Icelandic Research fund (Icel. Rannsóknasjóður) Grant of Excellence No 173655-05.

Recent years have seen growing interest in the exploration of disability in premodern societies and cultures. In line with the now commonly accepted (working) premise that disability is a multi-factorial phenomenon, scholars have come to realise that there can be no fixed, atemporal or acultural definition of disability. Thus, in order to consider whether and how premodern societies may have conceptualized disability, scholars must shed presentist preconceptions, cast a wide net, and be prepared to read between the lines. Equipped with an understanding of disability as a tool of sociocultural analysis, scholars today commonly make use of the concepts of ‘embodied difference’ and ‘marked or unusual bodies’ to yield more fruitful results as they do not imply pre-defined notions of disability. Although the body becomes a central platform on whose basis disability is negotiated, scholars are in no way limited to speaking only of the physicality of bodies. Rather the body is understood as a medium which materialises and translates physical, psychic, and intellectual differences in a way that societies can identify them as deviations from what is considered ‘normal’ in specific historical and socio-cultural contexts. Indeed, the phenomenon of disability cannot be studied without the contrast of what a culture or society conceptualizes as ‘ability’ and identifies as ‘normal’. The term ‘dis/ability’ can be used to express this inherent relationship and to remind us that it is not possible to understand one without recognizing the other.

Within this theoretical context, we invite proposals for essays (c. 7000 words) for a special issue of the journal Mirator that seeks to expand upon growing interest of dis/ability in the context of the medieval Nordic world. Contributors to the special issue will explore dis/ability within the context of different social arrangements and cultural conventions in the medieval Nordic world. We will especially welcome contributions that focus on close reading of specific texts (historical, legal, literary, etc.) as well as suggestions for broad, methodological approaches towards the study of dis/ability in the medieval Nordic world. Contributors will be encouraged, where possible, to expand the scope of their research to include related aspects from the fields of cultural studies, social theory, history, art, etc. In the context of the medieval Nordic world, possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Approaches to the experience of dis/ability (i.e. sources, methodology)
  • Dis/ability and society
  • Religion and dis/ability
  • Dis/ability and medical knowledge
  • Intersections of dis/ability with age, gender, social status, etc.
  • Dis/ability and the law
  • Narrating experiences and perceptions of dis/ability
  • Dis/ability, assistive technology, and care
  • Terminology or language of dis/ability

Contributions dealing with geographic regions in the medieval Nordic world, including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and/or Sweden, are welcome. We hope to represent all of these regions in the special issue and are particularly eager to field proposals dealing with Danish and Finnish material.

Please send one-page essay proposals accompanied by brief author bio (c. 100 words) to annakh@hi.is by June 1, 2019. In order to achieve an expeditious production timeline, essay drafts will be due in January 2020. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have in the meantime.