Conference – IMC Leeds 2022 – Session related to Health, Illnesses and disabilities.






Byzantine Bodies, I: The Byzantine Body and Performativity


Tuesday 5 July 2022: 09.00-10.30




Cardiff Centre for Late Antique Religion & Culture, Cardiff University




Larisa Vilimonovic, Department of History, University of Belgrade




Shaun Tougher, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University



Paper 510-a

Bodily Performance in Ritual Contexts: Healing the Sick in Byzantine Hagiography
(Language: English)
Stavroula Constantinou, Centre for Medieval Arts & Rituals, University of Cyprus, Nicosia
Index Terms: Byzantine Studies; Gender Studies; Hagiography

Paper 510-b

The Scribal Act as a Gendering Act in the Byzantine Lives of ‘Cross-Dressing’ Saints
(Language: English)
Julie Van Pelt, Vakgroep Letterkunde, Afdeling Grieks, Universiteit Gent
Index Terms: Byzantine Studies; Gender Studies; Hagiography

Paper 510-c

Byzantine Femininities between Discipline and Punishment: Anthropology of the Female Body in Byzantium
(Language: English)
Larisa Vilimonovic, Department of History, University of Belgrade
Index Terms: Byzantine Studies; Gender Studies; Women’s Studies




This is the first session in a series of panels on Byzantine Bodies. The session aims to map how concrete collective or individual subjects form their identities through various discursive processes (those that constitute religion, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender). It will focus on the performative aspects of gender in Byzantium, on gender fluidity, and on readings beyond binaries. The session also maps Byzantine masculinities and femininities and their relationships to normative power structures.






Breaking Down Disciplinary Borders: Connecting Historical and Archaeological Research, III – Medieval Dental Calculus, A Treasure Trove of Information


Tuesday 5 July 2022: 14.15-15.45




Claire Burridge, Department of History, University of Sheffield




Alison I. Beach, School of History, University of St Andrews



Paper 716-a

Dental Calculus as a Window on Medieval Urban Religion: An Interdisciplinary Study of Leicester’s Augustinian Friary
(Language: English)
Anita Radini, Department of Archaeology, University of York
Index Terms: Archaeology – General; Religious Life

Paper 716-b

Health and Healing Remedies in Medieval Leprosaria: The Contribution of Dental Calculus Analysis
(Language: English)
Elena Fiorin, Dipartimento di Scienze odontostomatologiche e maxillo facciali, Università degli Studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’
Index Terms: Archaeology – General; Medicine

Paper 716-c

Dental Calculus as a Proxy for Oral Health in Medieval Danes
(Language: English)
Liam Lanigan, GLOBE Institute, Københavns Universitet
Index Terms: Archaeology – General; Medicine




Analyses of dental calculus (mineralised dental plaque) are revolutionising the ways we can study past populations. The proposed session showcases new research involving the latest analytical methods, from light microscopy to palaeoproteomic and genomic techniques. Each paper addresses a different topic in the field, highlighting the ways in which dental calculus analysis can contribute to our understanding of oral health, medical practices, and monastic lifeways. Taken collectively, the papers demonstrate that this substance provides an unrivalled and, until recently, largely untapped resource for exploring the health and lived experiences of medieval individuals, and especially those unrecorded by the texts.







Borders and Bodies in Early Medieval Riddles and Beyond


Tuesday 5 July 2022: 16.30-18.00




IMC Programming Committee




Jennifer Neville, Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London



Paper 806-a

Liminal Voices of Disabled Subjectivity in the Exeter Book Riddles
(Language: English)
Margaret McCurry, Department of English, New York University
Index Terms: Hagiography; Language and Literature – Old English; Literacy and Orality

Paper 806-b

‘[He] sægde him to sorge þæt hy sige-lease / þone grenan wong ofgiefan sceoldan’: The Porous Borders of Affect, Race, and Sovereignty in Guthlac A / B and Exeter Riddle 10
(Language: English)
Adam Darisse, Department of English, New York University
Index Terms: Hagiography; Language and Literature – Old English; Mentalities; Sermons and Preaching

Paper 806-c

Defining the Boundaries of Animate and Inanimate in the Riddles of Tatwine
(Language: English)
Alexandra Zhirnova, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic, University of Cambridge
Index Terms: Language and Literature – Latin; Language and Literature – Old English; Rhetoric

Paper 806-d

Cynewulf’s Questioning of the Borders of Script and Orality in The Fates of the Apostles
(Language: English)
Jacob Wayne Runner, Institute of Liberal Arts & Science, Kanazawa University
Index Terms: Language and Literature – Old English; Literacy and Orality; Manuscripts and Palaeography




Paper -a:
With their repeated imperatives to ‘saga hwæt ic hatte’ (‘say what I am called’), the first-person riddles of the Old English Exeter Book demand a dialogical relation between reader and speaker, subject and object, self and other. This task is complicated, however, by the fact that the speakers of the Exeter Book riddles are, in fact, not subjects, but objects that portray themselves in a variety of straitened circumstances – as impoverished foundlings, as being impaired physically and mentally, as dejected outcasts on the brink of death – in short, as disabled. This paper employs the theoretical lens of disability studies to examine the themes of marginalisation, expiration, and objectification that are voiced by the first-person speakers of the Exeter Book riddles and posits liminality as a conceptual space for readers to consider disabled subjectivity.

Paper -b:
Guthlac A/B and Exeter Riddle 10 are concerned with the porous borders of celestial/terrestrial spaces, Anglo-Saxon/indigenous identities, and affect/action. Ælfric’s ‘Sermo de Memoria Sanctorum’, which articulates the Eight Principal Vices and Virtues and links affect to claims of bodily and spatial sovereignty, offers a theological framework that complicates previous analyses of the way Anglo-Saxon’s perceived these borders. This paper investigates these texts – at the border between the genres of hagiography, poetry, riddle, and homily – and how theology was employed to erect and police the borders of bodies, spaces, and identities in Anglo-Saxon England. 

Paper -c:
This paper examines the works of Tatwine, an 8th-century Anglo-Latin grammarian and poet, whose collection of 40 Enigmata employs the paradoxical qualities of the riddle for a semantic investigation of the linguistic boundaries between animate and inanimate things. By comparing the riddles to his and others’ grammatical works, this paper aims to show Tatwine’s use of poetic devices to replace the harsh boundary between corporalia and incorporalia of antique grammarians with a continuum in which they can co-exist, reflecting a more general change in contemporary English thought.

Paper -d:
The four Old English poems that contain the runic Cyn(e)wulf ‘signature’ have continuously provoked debate as to the characters’ intratextual function and interpretation. Although a case has been made for alternative words indicated by initialisms (Niles 2006), the prevailing view is that they are logogrammatic and instantiate traditional runic names (e.g. Birkett 2017; Page 1999; Symons 2016). This paper presents a semiotic assessment of a single Cynewulf poem (‘The Fates of the Apostles’) and argues that the text’s inclusion of runes amongst the bookhand alphabet characters achieves a purposeful destabilization of the associative borders between the different scripts and between ‘oral’ and ‘transcribed’.






Social Experiences of Disability


Wednesday 6 July 2022: 09.00-10.30




Ninon Dubourg, Départment d’Histoire, Université de Liège


Adelheid Russenberger, School of History, Queen Mary, University of London




Ninon Dubourg, Départment d’Histoire, Université de Liège



Paper 1005-a

Dante’s City: Unjust Exile and Disabled Life beyond the Border
(Language: English)
Catherine Bloomer, Department of Italian / Institute for Comparative Literature & Society, Columbia University
Index Terms: Language and Literature – Italian; Medicine

Paper 1005-b

The Borders of Disability and Ability, Ill Health and Health in Medieval Poland
(Language: English)
Magdalena Matczak, Department of Archaeology, Classics & Egyptology, University of Liverpool
Index Terms: Medicine; Social History

Paper 1005-c

Ill Health as a Space of Communication between Man and God in Ancient Rus’
(Language: English)
Natalia Pelezneva,
Index Terms: Hagiography; Medicine; Mentalities




Disablility and impairment were experienced in, and created by, an individual’s social context. These three papers consider how Disability was constructed and used in three diverse contexts – Dante’s Florence, medieval Poland, and the medieval Rus’. Despite the geographical range, all three papers demonstrate how the experience of Disability was informed as much by an individual’s social position as much as the nature of their impairment.







Disability in Literature


Wednesday 6 July 2022: 11.15-12.45




Ninon Dubourg, Départment d’Histoire, Université de Liège


Adelheid Russenberger, School of History, Queen Mary, University of London




Wendy J. Turner, Department of History, Anthropology & Philosophy, Augusta University, Georgia



Paper 1105-a

Disabled Old Women against Romance: The Depictions of ‘La Vieille’, Frontier of Love in Le roman de la Rose
(Language: English)
Ninon Dubourg, Départment d’Histoire, Université de Liège
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Mentalities; Social History

Paper 1105-b

Eastern Infirmity and Unholy Suffering: Genealogy and Faith as Disability / The Borders of Ability and Disability
(Language: English)
Jeffrey McCambridge, Department of English, College of Arts & Sciences, Ohio University
Index Terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies; Medicine; Mentalities

Paper 1105-c

It’s All Fun and Games: Laughing at Newly Impaired and Newly Normative Bodies in Medieval France
(Language: English)
Heather Curtis, School of History, University of St Andrews
Index Terms: Language and Literature – French or Occitan; Mentalities




These three papers examine the different ways in which imaginary accounts of Disability and impairment provided a means of expressing contemporary concerns, and how this literary use of Disability creates an insight into medieval cultural norms and thought. The papers’ literary sources range from French comedy and romance to Christian descriptions of Islam, and provide an opportunity to explore how and when Disability intersected with other social categories of gender, race, and religion.






#DisMed 5: Disability and Accessibility in Higher Education – A Round Table Discussion


Wednesday 6 July 2022: 11.15-12.45




Medievalists with Disabilities




Alexandra R. A. Lee, Department of Liberal Studies, New York University, London




Jack Ford, Department of History, University College London




Founded in 2017, Medievalists with Disabilities marks its fifth year at the IMC with another round table discussion. This round table discussion offers a chance for disabled medievalists and their allies to share and offer solutions for issues, as well as sharing best practice. We will be discussing accessibility in academia, with topics ranging from allyship and physical access to autism and memory, and the importance of community.

Participants include Hope Doherty (Durham University), Alexandra Lee (University College London), and Amy Louise Morgan (University of Surrey).





Cripping Normative Time: Being and Becoming Disabled in Medieval Europe


Wednesday 6 July 2022: 14.15-15.45




Ninon Dubourg, Départment d’Histoire, Université de Liège


Adelheid Russenberger, School of History, Queen Mary, University of London




Adelheid Russenberger, School of History, Queen Mary, University of London



Paper 1205-a

Constructing Melancholic Time in Thomas Hoccleve’s Series
(Language: English)
Emily A. Price, Department of English, City University of New York
Index Terms: Language and Literature – Middle English; Medicine; Mentalities

Paper 1205-b

Boundaries between Age, Health, Ability, and Work: Aging in Medieval England
(Language: English)
Wendy J. Turner, Department of History, Anthropology & Philosophy, Augusta University, Georgia
Index Terms: Daily Life; Medicine

Paper 1205-c

Drawing the Borders of Crip Time in Women’s Monastic Life, c. 1200-1300
(Language: English)
Amelia Kennedy, Institut für Geschichte, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Medicine; Religious Life




Disability disrupts and challenges normative notions of time and personal development, just as the progress of time leads to impairment. These papers explore how time itself and social expectations of an individual’s life-time in medieval Europe could disable individuals; and consider how a Disabled individual’s own experience of time could challenge the artificial boundaries of normative time.













CFP – The Body’S Health, the Soul’s Salvation: Healthcare and Religion in Rural Areas (Western Europe XVth-XIXth Centuries) – International colloquium of the Société Suisse d’Histoire Rurale (SSHR) (Swiss Society for Rural History)

Yates Thompson 19 f. 40 @britishlibrary (Brunetto Latini)

Organisers: Sandro Guzzi-Heeb, Madline Favre, Aline Johner, Lucas Rappo, Alessandro Ratti (SSHR/Université de Lausanne), Nathalie Dahn-Singh (SSHR/Université de Fribourg)

1–2 September 2022, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland

Deadline for proposal submissions: 1 February 2022


***Please find the English version below***


Appel à communications
pour le colloque international de la Société Suisse d’Histoire Rurale (SSHR)
Santé des corps et salut des âmes :
soins et religion en milieu rural (Europe occidentale, XVe-XIXe siècles)

Depuis quelques années, on assiste à un véritable regain d’intérêt pour l’étude des pratiques dites « populaires » en relation avec la santé ; en parallèle, de nouvelles approches émergent également autour de l’histoire des expériences religieuses. Néanmoins, les démarches qui visent à mettre en lumière le rapport entre ces deux sphères, notamment dans les régions périphériques (rurales et de montagne), demeurent rares.

L’objectif de ce colloque est donc d’approfondir la problématique de l’interpénétration entre soins, corps, santé et religion dans le monde rural, en adoptant une approche à la fois interdisciplinaire et dans une perspective de longue durée. Comment revisiter, à l’aune des récents développements de la recherche historique (histoire, histoire des religions, histoire de l’art, anthropologie historique…), des pratiques, des savoirs et des objets qui, jusqu’à présent, ont surtout été abordés par les folkloristes et par les ethnologues ?

Les contributeurs·trices seront invité·e·s à réfléchir à cette question générale en accordant une attention particulière aux acteurs·rices. D’un côté, le rôle joué par les spécialistes de la santé et du salut des âmes – curés, apothicaires, guérisseurs et guérisseuses, sages-femmes –, ainsi que par les institutions religieuses (confréries, hospices, monastères…) : qui sont-ils/elles et comment agissent-ils/elles dans leurs rôles d’intermédiaires entre le(s) corps, la santé et l’univers religieux ? Quelle est leur fonction dans la prise en charge matérielle, physique et spirituelle des populations en milieu rural et alpin ? D’autre part, le colloque se penchera sur les usages que les hommes et les femmes mettent en place afin de prendre soin de leur santé et de leur propre corps, – soit les pratiques « d’autosoins » telles qu’elles se manifestent dans la population.

Les deux journées du colloque visent à mobiliser et valoriser une documentation variée et produite hors des seuls cercles érudits (écrits personnels, almanachs, objets dévotionnels, ex-votos, icônes, images…) et à enquêter sur des lieux particuliers (sanctuaires, chapelles, lieux de guérisons ou énergétiques, mais aussi la maison et l’espace domestique). Le cadre proposé invite ainsi à analyser les traditions anciennes, les croyances religieuses et les connaissances scientifiques, afin de réfléchir à la transmission des savoirs sur la relation entre les corps et les âmes en dehors des circuits savants. Les contributions prenant en compte la dimension du genre seront particulièrement les bienvenues.

Nous invitons donc des propositions originales s’inscrivant en priorité dans les axes thématiques suivants :

  • Un premier axe s’oriente autour du « corps sain » : comment la religion est-elle utilisée pour soigner les corps en milieu rural ? Les propositions s’inscrivant dans cet axe aborderont d’une part les pratiques qualifiées de « superstitieuses » (recettes médicinales, formules magiques, recours au « secret » …) associées à un rapport à la transcendance et à l’univers de la magie. D’autre part, les usages admis par les autorités religieuses seront également interrogés, tels que le recours à l’intercession des saint·e·s, les pèlerinages, les processions ou l’utilisation d’exvotos et de reliques. Enfin, il s’agit également d’aborder le rapport quotidien des hommes et des femmes aux prescriptions religieuses concernant les corps, notamment l’hygiène, l’alimentation, l’habillement, mais aussi l’érotisme et la sexualité.
  • Un deuxième axe interroge le « corps saint ». D’abord, celui des vivant·e·s : comment atteindre le salut par des pratiques qui purifient le corps ? Qu’il s’agisse d’habitudes alimentaires (jeûnes, interdits…), de l’abstinence sexuelle ou encore, plus radicalement, de l’ascétisme ou de la flagellation, comment les croyant·e·s modifient-ils/elles leurs pratiques corporelles dans un but spirituel ? Les soins apportés aux corps s’étendent également au domaine de la mort : comment les membres d’une communauté prennent-ils/elles en charge les corps des défunt·e·s pour assurer le salut de leur âme, et qui sont les acteurs·rices qui se consacrent à ces gestes (famille, voisinage, confréries) ?
  • Un troisième axe s’intéresse aux pratiques liées aux « cycles de la vie », soit aux rituels autour de l’enfance, de la grossesse, des menstruations, de l’accouchement, de la vieillesse et de la mort. Cet axe abordera les gestes et les célébrations qui marquent les étapes de la transformation des corps. Les croyances autour des « corps » immatériels (esprits, revenants), ainsi que des médiateurs·rices intervenant comme intermédiaires entre deux états (médiums, curés, exorcistes…) permettront d’interroger plus directement encore les entrelacements constants des différents cycles entre corps et repos des âmes, tels qu’ils s’articulent dans le monde rural.

Soumission des propositions
Les propositions de communications comprendront un titre et un résumé (env. 2500-3000 caractères, espaces et notes compris), ainsi qu’une courte présentation personnelle (env. 1000 caractères, y compris la fonction, l’affiliation institutionnelle, les principales publications et le courrier électronique), le tout dans un unique document Word. Les propositions doivent être envoyées d’ici au 1er février 2022 à l’adresse suivante :

Les candidat·e·s seront informé·e·s des résultats de la sélection au cours du mois d’avril 2022. Les communications dureront 20 minutes. Les langues du colloque sont le français et l’anglais. Les participant·e·s seront invité·e·s à remettre un résumé de leur conférence (2 pages) 15 jours avant le colloque.

Les organisateurs·trices souhaitent publier une sélection des communications présentées, en tenant compte de l’avis d’un comité scientifique. En ce sens, ils et elles invitent les participant·e·s à proposer une recherche originale et inédite.

Modalités pratiques
Les frais d’hébergement et de voyage ainsi que les repas durant les deux journées seront pris en charge.

Comité d’organisation
Sandro GUZZI-HEEB, Madline FAVRE, Aline JOHNER, Lucas RAPPO, Alessandro RATTI (SSHR/Université de Lausanne), Nathalie DAHN-SINGH (SSHR/Université de Fribourg).

Comité scientifique
Vincent BARRAS (Institut des humanités en médecine IHM, Lausanne) ; Anne BONZON (Université Paris 8) ; Simona BOSCANI LEONI (SSHR – Université de Berne) ; Christian GROSSE (Université de Lausanne) ; Philip RIEDER (Institut éthique histoire humanités IEH2, Genève) ; Rahel WUNDERLI (SSHR – Université de Berne).




Call for papers
for the international colloquium of the Société Suisse d’Histoire Rurale (SSHR) (Swiss Society for Rural History)
The Body’S Health, the Soul’s Salvation:
Healthcare and Religion in Rural Areas (Western Europe.  XVth-XIXth Centuries)

Recent years have seen renewed interest for the study of so-called “popular” practices in relation to health; likewise, new approaches have emerged in the history of religious experiences. However, studies that aim to highlight the relationship between these two spheres – notably in peripheral areas, both rural and alpine – remain rare.

This colloquium aims to further examine the issue of interpenetration between healthcare, bodies, health, and religion in the rural context by adopting both an interdisciplinary approach and a “long view” (perspective de longue durée). In light of recent developments in historical research (history, history of religions, art history, historical anthropology…), how can we revisit practices, knowledge, and objects which, until now, have mostly been studied by folklorists and ethnologists?

Contributors will be invited to discuss this general question by focusing particularly on the actors. On the one hand, the role played by specialists of health and the salvation of the soul – parish priests, apothecaries, healers, midwives – and religious institutions (confraternities, hospices, monasteries…): who are they and how do they act in their roles as intermediaries between bodies, health, and the religious realm? What function do they have in the material, physical, and spiritual care of rural and alpine populations? On the other hand, the colloquium will investigate practices and habits which men and women established in order to take care of their own health and bodies – such as “self-healthcare” practices.

Over the span of two days, we will mobilize and highlight various documents produced outside of erudite circles (personal writings, almanacs, devotional objects, ex-votos, icons, images…), and inquire about particular spaces (sanctuaries, chapels, healing grounds, but also the household and the domestic sphere). Thus, we invite the analysis of ancient traditions, religious beliefs, and scientific knowledge for the purpose of discussing knowledge transmission pertaining to the relationship between bodies and souls, as it manifests itself outside of the scholarly context. Papers that consider the gender dimension are most welcome.

We therefore invite innovative work in line with the below thematic focus:

  • Our first axis explores the “healthy body”: how is religion used to heal the body in rural areas? These papers will treat of practices deemed “superstitious” (medical recipes, magical formulas, use of the “secret” …), associated with transcendence and the magical realm. Furthermore, practices allowed by religious authorities will also be discussed, such as the intercession of the saints, pilgrimages, processions, the use of ex-votos and relics. Lastly, this axis will also consider how men and women daily related to religious prescriptions concerning bodies, hygiene, nutrition, clothing, as well as eroticism and sexuality.
  • Our second axis explores the “holy body”: concerning the living, how can they attain salvation through practices of bodily purification? Whether it be through nutritional habits (fasts, interdicts…), sexual abstinence, and more radically, ascetism or flagellation, how do believers modify their bodily practices for spiritual aims? Care of the body also concerns death: how do communities take care of their dead in order to secure their salvation and who are the actors in charge of these practices (families, neighbors, confraternities)?
  • Our third axis explores practices that concern “life cycles”, such as rituals surrounding infancy, pregnancy, menstruation, birth, old age, and death. This axis will discuss gestures and celebrations that mark milestones of the transformation of bodies. Moreover, inquiry will focus on beliefs about immaterial bodies (spirits, revenants), as well as mediators and intermediaries (mediums, parish priests, exorcists…), thus allowing us to question how rural society articulates the constant interweaving of life cycles, bodies, and souls’ rest.

Submission of proposals
Paper proposals will have a title and an abstract (circa 2500-3000 characters, spaces and footnotes included), as well as a short biographical presentation (circa 1000 characters, mentioning your academic position, institutional affiliation(s), primary publications, and email address), and will be in Word format. Proposals must be submitted before 1 February 2022 to the following address:

Candidates will be informed of their selection in April 2022. Paper presentations should last 20 minutes. The colloquium will be held in French and in English. Participants will submit a two-page summary of their paper 15 days before the colloquium.

The organizers wish to publish a selection of the papers presented at the colloquium, taking into consideration the scientific comity’s opinion. Therefore, we encourage all participants to propose original and unpublished research.

Practical modalities
Costs pertaining to accommodation, traveling, and meals during both days will be covered.

Sandro GUZZI-HEEB, Madline FAVRE, Aline JOHNER, Lucas RAPPO, Alessandro RATTI (SSHR/University of Lausanne), Nathalie DAHN-SINGH (SSHR/University of Fribourg).

Scientific committee
Vincent BARRAS (Institute of Humanities in Medicine IHM, Lausanne); Anne BONZON (University Paris 8) ; Simona BOSCANI LEONI (SSHR – University of Berne); Christian GROSSE (University of Lausanne); Philip RIEDER (Institute of Ethics History Humanities IEH2, Genève); Rahel WUNDERLI (SSHR – University of Berne).

Workshop – Power, Piety and Plague: the Northern Church in the 14th Century, by Medieval Studies Research Group, Lincoln – 22 April

About this Event

The Medieval Studies Research Group (University of Lincoln), The Northern Way, and the Lincoln Record Society invite you to join us for this free, interactive workshop. No experience necessary.

This workshop will explore some of the riches contained within the Registers that were used to record the business of the Archbishops’ of York in the fourteenth century, an era of political turmoil, almost incessant warfare and climatic and public health catastrophes.

‘“The Northern Way”: the Archbishops of York and the North of England, 1304 – 1405’ is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research project run by the Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York, in partnership with The National Archives (TNA). ‘The Northern Way’ seeks to make the content from the 16 Registers for this period, alongside related documents from TNA, more easily searchable and accessible through the development of a digital resource. The workshop will demonstrate how the resource and index can shed light on a range of topics and previously hidden histories about, principally, the North of England but also about the employment and influence of clerks from Lincolnshire in running the diocese of York and the government of England.

You will find out more about Archbishop Melton’s reaction to the, now notorious, Joan of Leeds, a nun from the Priory of St Clements, York. In 1318, with the help of her fellow nuns, Joan faked her own death and buried a dummy of her body, so that she could run away to Beverley and allegedly live a life of ‘carnal lust’. These Registers can provide insights into the religious and political role of the province and its relationship with central government, as well as give fascinating insights into culture, society and piety.

Dr Paul Dryburgh and Dr Marianne Wilson (The Northern Way and Lincoln Record Society)

Link to register

Seminar – Uncommon Bodies – “The Trajectories of Early Modern Disability Studies” ; Simone Chess, “Hacking Sex in the Renaissance.” Lindsey Row-Heyveld, “Careless Arden: Able-bodiedness in As You Like It.” – 10-12 Feb 2021 – Event Free on Zoom

Uncommon Bodies: CSPW/CEMH Event
Please join us for two Uncommon Bodies events on disability studies and early modern sexuality, featuring Lindsey Row-Heyveld and Simone Chess

If you’re thinking you that you may come, we would like to know! Even if you ultimately can’t make it, we want to ensure that accommodations are available for you. So please RSVP.

When: Wed. Feb. 10, 2021 — Behind-the-scenes methods talk (11AM-12:30 PM CST)
and Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 Double header! (12- 1:30 PM CST)
Where: Zoom (please RSVP for link or check on the Center for Early Modern History UMN site)
Who: This event is free and open to the public, and to anyone who might be interested in disability studies, disability community, and early modern scholarship

Feb 10:
“The Trajectories of Early Modern Disability Studies”
Topics include: what brought us each to early modern disability studies? Where was early modern disability studies when we first met and first began this work? What has changed, in the field and in our own thinking? Where do we see gaps or space for growth? How did we pick the topics we’ll be talking about as models for what might be coming next in the field?

Feb. 12:
These talks approach the question of what might come next in early modern disability studies from two very different angles: Lindsey Row-Heyveld’s work on able-bodiedness and inattention explores a disability studies that could help us understand the construction of normalcy, modeling ways that disability knowledges apply broadly outside of the usual canon of early modern disability texts, while Simone Chess’s work on adaptive sex practices experiments with a disability studies centered in embodiment, modeling an increased specificity about disabled practices in history. Despite these very different approaches, the papers dovetail in their shared commitment to envisioning a capacious, creative, and multi-vocal future for early modern disability studies.

Simone Chess, “Hacking Sex in the Renaissance.”
Lindsey Row-Heyveld, “Careless Arden: Able-bodiedness in As You Like It.”

New book – Exceptional Bodies in Early Modern Culture: Concepts of Monstrosity Before the Advent of the Normal, ed. by Maja Bondestam, pub. by Amsterdam University Press

Exceptional Bodies in Early Modern Culture, Concepts of Monstrosity Before the Advent of the Normal

Maja Bondestam (ed.), published by Amsterdam University Press, new series Monsters and Marvels. Alterity in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds


Drawing on a rich array of textual and visual primary sources, including medicine, satires, play scripts, dictionaries, natural philosophy, and texts on collecting wonders, this book provides a fresh perspective on monstrosity in early modern European culture. The essays explore how exceptional bodies challenged social, religious, sexual and natural structures and hierarchies in the sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and contributed to its knowledge, moral and emotional repertoire. Prodigious births, maternal imagination, hermaphrodites, collections of extraordinary things, powerful women, disabilities, controversial exercise, shapeshifting phenomena and hybrids are examined in a period before all varieties and differences became normalized to a homogenous standard. The historicizing of exceptional bodies is central in the volume since it expands our understanding of early modern culture and deepens our knowledge of its specific ways of conceptualizing singularities, rare examples, paradoxes, rules and conventions in nature and society.


Table of contents

Introduction – Maja Bondestam

1. The Moresca Dance in Counter-Reformation Rome: Court Medicine and the Moderation of Exceptional Bodies – Maria Kavvadia

2. Monsters and the Matemal Imagination: The ‘First Vision’ from Johann Remmelin’s 1619 Catoptrum microcosmicum Triptych – Rosemary Moore

3. The Optics of Bodily Deviance: Juan Ruiz de Alarcon’s Path to Public Office – Pablo Garcia Pillar

4. ‘The Most Deformed Woman in France’: Marguerite de Valois’s Monstrous Sexuality in the Divorce satyrique – Cecile Resfels

5. Curious, Useful and Important: Bayle’s ‘Hermaphrodites’ as Figures of Theological Inquiry – Parker Cotton

6. An Education: Johannes Schefferus and the Prodigious Son of a Fisherman – Maja Bondestam

7. Ambiguous and Transitional Bodies: Stillbirth in Stockholm, 1691-1724 – Tove Paulsson Holmberg

Afterword – Kathleen Long