Call for papers – ‘Ecologies of Healing in the Premodern World (600-1350 CE)’ – Edinburgh, 9-10 Sept 2022.

Yet, how these diverse pieces can be assembled into a cohesive picture of medicine, health and healing within, let alone across, societies before c.1350 remains to be worked out. Ecologies of Healing invites scholars working on premodern Asian, African and European societies to do just that. The conference’s key goal is to piece together how interactions and demarcations between ideas, practices, practitioners, materials and settings of healing ultimately coalesced within the medical ecosystems of premodern societies. Ecologies of Healing also seeks to sharpen our chronologies by paying attention to how and why medical ecosystems have changed or stayed the same over time, and to promote further the global history of premodern medicine by exploring cross-cultural connections and comparisons between the medical ecosystems characteristic of distinct premodern societies.  

We welcome papers on premodern health, medicine and healing, including in the following areas: 

  • Medical epistemologies and knowledge communities; (re)constructions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ knowledge and practice 
  • Practical repercussions, and limitations of, learned medicine 
  • Competing, converging and coexisting practices of healing and healthcare work, including through patient as well as practitioner perspectives 
  • Economies of healing and the social settings of medicine, including the significance of environment, urban/rural geographies and domestic healthcare 
  • Roles of cross-cultural interactions and knowledge transfer in shaping practices of medicine 
  • Stratified healing, including the impact of wealth, status, ethnicity, religious affiliation and gender on participation in knowledge communities and access to healing 
  • Interfaces between animal and human healthcare 

Keynote speaker: 

Anthony Cerulli, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Confirmed speakers: 

Carmen Caballero Navas, University of Granada

Asaf Goldschmidt, Tel Aviv University

Ahmed Ragab, Williams College

Richard Sowerby, University of Edinburgh

Sethina Watson, University of York

Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, Goldsmiths, University of London

The dates are preliminary and we will be able to confirm the final dates once we know more about the likely picture of the pandemic in 2022. Our aim is to hold a face-to-face event and we would cover the costs of three nights’ accommodation in Edinburgh. All papers will be pre-circulated among participants two months in advance of the conference, where each speaker will give a shorter presentation (around 15 minutes) outlining the paper’s key contentions followed by responses and open discussion. We are looking for papers dealing with original and previously unpublished material because our aim is that, ultimately, extended versions of the papers will form a peer-reviewed edited volume, Ecologies of Healing in the Premodern World. The final version of the papers in the volume will not exceed 10,000 words including footnotes.

Scholars are invited to submit abstracts of ca. 300 words to petros.bouras-vallianatos@ed.ac.uk and zubin.mistry@ed.ac.uk by 31 August 2021.

Call for Papers — Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies/Journal of Gender Studies – Dis/abling Gender – ed. by Amsterdam University Press and Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies

Special Issue Guest Editors: Evelien Geerts, Josephine Hoegaerts, Kristien Hens, Daniel Blackie

The recent, and ongoing, COVID-19 pandemic has made explicit what many of us already knew: good health and able-bodiedness are fluid and uncertain states. We can only ever hold them precariously (Butler 2004; Scully 2014), as their value and definition are intrinsically unstable and intersectionally linked to situated intelligibility systems that attribute meaning to gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, and many other lived identity categories and labels (Parker 2015). What it means to be dis/able(d) has changed radically over time—and is still changing—under the policing influence of normalcy-dictating medical-psychiatric discourses and neoliberal bio-/necropolitical regimes (Tremain 2006; Chen 2012), while simultaneously being positively impacted by grassroots intersectional disability justice activism (Mingus 2011; Piepzna-Samarasinha 2018), critical disability studies, and critical pedagogical frameworks.

The COVID-19 crisis has had a brutal impact on the world and its population, and specifically on those whose bodies were already constructed to matter less through the intertwined, negatively constructed binaries that uphold the exclusivist notion of the ‘pure’, ‘neutral’  and healthy human subject. At the same time, the crisis also has demonstrated the porosity of these oppositional boundaries, such as the boundaries drawn between the human, non-human, more-than-human, and the perpetually dehumanised, the personal/political, and the able/disabledbodied: The SARS-CoV-2 virus and the patchwork of crises it has created (and reinforced) does not only point at human identity and subjectivity being more in flux and in conjunction with (more-than-human) others than the Cartesian self tells us, but also demonstrates that the condition of vulnerability is an existentially shared one and therefore cannot be subsumed under one linear temporal framework. Long COVID, for instance, demonstrates how vulnerable we all are, in the end, and how the linear temporal framework backing up the (dis)abledness narrative needs to be urgently queered, and also placed in the context of longer histories of crisis, in which experiences of ill health, mutilation, and various dis/abilities have played an important role (Bourke 1996; Nair 2020). Another aspect that the pandemic crisis has underlined sharply, is the fact that both the experience of—and the care for—able and disabled bodies is an intrinsically gendered affair (Forestell 2006). These experiences are furthermore deeply bound up with equally gendered notions of labour, authority, and autonomy (Rose 2017); a topic that has been central to the discipline of gender studies from the outset.

Taking the foregoing into account, this special issue of Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (Journal of Gender Studies), wishes to explore the intersections between complex lived experiences of dis/ability and gender through an explicit engagement with the links and tensions between the scholarly and activist fields of gender studies and critical disability studies (see e.g., Meekosha & Shuttleworth 2009) while taking stock of important present-day turns and debates in and at the intersections of both fields.

More concretely: What happens, this issue wonders, if we take the call—contested by scholars such as Bone (2017) but at the same time emphasised by Kafer (2013)—for ‘cripping’ scholarship, policy, and practice seriously in gender studies and feminism? What happens if we think beyond transdisciplinary exchange, and purposefully stretch towards a theoretical framework and grounded practice of dis/abling gender studies? How can the insights and methods of critical disability studies, with its radical turn toward vulnerability, diversity, and resilience push gender studies toward new understandings of identity, corporeal praxis, labour, and care? How can gender studies, and specifically, novel approaches within contemporary feminist theory, assist critical disability studies with the intersectional conceptualisation of specific lived experiences, surveillance and (in)visibility regimes, and a more affirmative understanding of identities-in-flux and (reappropriated) labels? In short, can we not only ‘gender’ disability (Smith & Hutchinson, 2004), but also dis/able gender?

We particularly welcome submissions that address the following questions and issues:

  1. The challenges and rewards of interdisciplinary dialogue between gender studies and critical disability studies;
  2. Intersections of gender, dis/ability, and ethnicity/race from a theoretical and/or experiential perspective (e.g., Samuels 2011).
  3. How to study dis/abilities on both an experiential and representational level;
  4. Changes in philosophical, historical (Stiker 1999), and sociological (e.g., Thomas 2007) models of dis/ability;
  5. New materialist, posthumanist, and affective theoretical approaches (e.g., Goodley et al. 2014; Feely 2016);
  6. Changes in terminology within gender studies and critical disability studies (e.g., ‘crip’ as a reappropriated term);
  7. ‘Bodies that are made to (not) matter’, for example in the context of health crises;
  8. The potential of historical studies to generate new theoretical insights on dis/ability and gender (e.g., Rembis 2019);
  9. (Neoliberal) academic spaces, ablebodiedness, normativity and critical pedagogical approaches (including neurodiversity & neurotypicality)
  10.  Dis/ability and the questions of labour and care (i.e., who is supposed to request accommodations; provide care; …)
  11.  Links and tensions between the women’s and disability rights movements, and the role of activism in practices of dis/abling gender (‘everyday activism’)

References used:

  • Bone, K. (2017). Trapped Behind the Glass: Crip theory and Disability Identity. Disability & Society 32(9).
  • Bourke, J. (1996). Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain and the Great War. The University of Chicago Press.
  • Butler, J. (2004). Precarious life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. Verso.
  • Chen, M. Y. (2012). Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Durham University Press.
  • Goodley, D., R. Lawthom, and K. Runswick Cole (2014). Posthuman Disability Studies. Subjectivity 7 (4).
  • Feely, M. (2016). Disability Studies After the Ontological Turn: A Return to the Material World and Material Bodies Without a Return to Essentialism. Disability & Society 31(7).
  • Forestell, Nancy M. (2006). ‘And I Feel Like I’m Dying from Mining for Gold’: Disability, Gender, and the Mining Community, 1920-1950. Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 3(3).
  • Kafer, A. (2013). Feminist, Queer, Crip. Indiana University Press.
  • Mingus, M. (2011, February 12). Changing the Framework: Disability Justice: How Our Communities Can Move Beyond Access To Wholeness. Leaving Evidence. https://leavingevidence.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/changing-the-framework-disability-justice/.
  • Nair, A. (2020). ‘These Curly-Bearded, Olive-Skinned Warriors’: Medicine, Prosthetics, Rehabilitation and the Disabled Sepoy in the First World War, 1914-1920. Social History of Medicine 33 (3).
  • Parker, A. M. (2015). Intersecting Histories of Gender, Race, and Disability. Journal of Women’s History 27 (1).
  • Piepzna-Samarasinha, L. L. (2018). Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice. Arsenal Pulp Press.
  • Meekosha, H., and R. Shuttleworth (2009). What’s so ‘Critical’ about Critical Disability Studies?  Australian Journal of Human Rights 15 (1).
  • Rembis, M. (2019). Challenging the Impairment/Disability Divide: Disability History and the Social Model of Disability. In: N. Watson and S. Vehmas (eds). The Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies, 2nd Edition. Routledge.
  • Rose, S. F. (2017). No Right to be Idle: The Invention of Disability, 1840s-1930s. The University of North Carolina Press.
  • Scully, J. L. (2014). Disability and Vulnerability: On Bodies, Dependence, and Power. In: C. Mackenzie, W. Rogers, and S. Dodds (eds.). Vulnerability: New Essays in Ethics and Feminist Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
  • Samuels, E. (2011). Examining Millie and Christine McKoy: Where Enslavement and Enfreakment Meet. Signs 37 (1).
  • Smith, B. and B. Hutchinson (eds) (2004). Gendering Disability. Rutgers University Press.
  • Stiker, H. J. (1999). A History of Disability. University of Michigan Press.
  • Thomas, C. (2007). Sociologies of Disability and Illness: Contested Ideas in Disability Studies and Medical Sociology. Palgrave Macmillan
  • Tremain, S. (ed.). (2006). Foucault and the Government of Disability. The University of Michigan Press.

About the Journal:

Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (Journal of Gender Studies) is a Dutch and English language forum for the scientific problematisation of gender in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, class, and age. The journal aims to contribute to debates about gender and diversity in the Netherlands and Flanders. The journal is an interdisciplinary medium operating at the intersection of society, culture, the humanities, health, and science.

Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (The Journal of Gender Studies) is published by Amsterdam University Press: Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies | Amsterdam University Press (aup.nl)

Guest editors:

Evelien Geerts, University of Birmingham, e.m.l.geerts@bham.ac.uk

Josephine Hoegaerts, University of Helsinki, josephine.hoegaerts@helsinki.fi

Kristien Hens, University of Antwerp, kristien.hens@uantwerpen.be

Daniel Blackie, University of Helsinki, daniel.blackie@helsinki.fi

Preparing your submission:

We invite potential contributors to submit an abstract of 500 words by the 1st of May 2021. The final paper should be 6000 words maximum. Abstracts for traditional scholarly articles should outline the theoretical/praxis-related contribution, method of analysis, and a selection of references (the latter do not have to be included in the word count). Suggestions for non-traditional, critically, and scholarly informed contributions are welcome as well. Please include the contact details of all of the contributors on the abstract document. Abstracts (and manuscripts) can be written in English or Dutch. Please note that the initial acceptance of an abstract does not guarantee publication and that the manuscripts will undergo a double-blind review process. We strive toward diversity among our contributors in terms of career-stage, disciplines, self-identification, and scholarly or activist affiliation. We are happy to accommodate different accessibility needs or diverse styles of communication. Please get in touch with (one of) the editors for any of these issues.

The author(s) should email their abstract proposal as a Word file to all of the guest editors: e.m.l.geerts@bham.ac.uk, josephine.hoegaerts@helsinki.fi, kristien.hens@uantwerpen.be , daniel.blackie@helsinki.fi. For specific questions or more information, contact the guest editors.

Submission timeline:

May, 1, 2021: Abstract submission deadline.

May, 14, 2021: Notification of acceptance/rejection and feedback from the guest editors for accepted abstracts.

August, 14, 2021: Manuscript submission deadline.

August, 14, 2021 – September 14, 2021: Double-blind review process plus feedback from the guest editors.

October, 14, 2021: Full and finalized manuscript submission deadline.

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.

CFP: Disability Cluster for Yearbook of Langland Studies 35 (2021) – Disability in Pierce Plowman

CFP: Disability Cluster for Yearbook of Langland Studies 35 (2021)


This special cluster will explore the representations of disability and impairment in Piers Plowman. Langland reveals the ambivalent and multifaceted attitude toward disability and impairment in the 14th century. Characters in the poem often treat disabled figures with either love or skepticism. On one hand, those who are too infirm to work are excused from the demands of labor, and are deemed worthy of charity and God’s love. On the other, there are « faitours » who readily assume the guise of impairment in order to deceive and evade the duty to work. Will himself is interrogated by Reason in the C-Text about his inability to work, and he cites his own embodied difference, being too tall, as a justification. This cluster invites essays that examine disability in Piers Plowman from a variety of methodological approaches. Are there different representations of disability across the versions of the poem? How do representations of disability in the poem intersect with legal, theological, or social concerns in the 14th century? What is the role of physical, cognitive, or sensory impairment in the poem? How can we put the poem into conversation with Disability Studies? How does a consideration of disability in Piers Plowman reorient or contribute to current work on Langland? To medieval Disability Studies?


Submissions are due to the cluster editor, Richard Godden (rgoddenl@lsu.edu), by 30 September, 2020.