Madness, Medicine and Miracle in Twelfth-Century England – Claire Trenery – Routledge

This book explores how madness was defined and diagnosed as a condition of the mind in the Middle Ages and what effects it was thought to have on the bodies, minds and souls of sufferers.

Madness is examined through narratives of miraculous punishment and healing that were recorded at the shrines of saints. This study focuses on the twelfth century, which has been identified as a ‘Medieval Renaissance’: a time of cultural and intellectual change that saw, among other things, the circulation of new medical treatises that brought with them a wealth of new ideas about illness and health. With the expanding authority of the Roman Church and the tightening of papal control over canonisation procedures in this period, historians have claimed that there was a ‘rationalisation’ of the miraculous. In miracle records, illnesses were explained using newly-accessible humoral theories rather than attributed to divine and demonic forces, as they had been previously.

The first book-length study of madness in medieval religion and medicine to be published since 1992, this book challenges these claims and reveals something of the limitations of the so-called ‘medicalisation’ of the miraculous. Throughout the twelfth century, demons continue to lurk in miracle records relating to one condition in particular: madness. Five case studies of miracle collections compiled between 1070 and 1220 reveal that hagiographical representations of madness were heavily influenced by the individual circumstances of their recording and yet were shaped as much by hagiographical patterns that had been developing throughout the twelfth century as they were by new medical and theological standards.

List of tables

Introduction

  1. Protection and punishment in the miracles of Saint Edmund the Martyr at Bury
  2. Managing the mad: violence, cruelty and restraint in the miracles of William of Norwich
  3. Medical madness? Diagnosing the mad in the miracles of Saint Thomas Becket
  4. Demonic disturbances in the miracles of Saint Bartholomew in London
  5. Balance and health: restoring sanity in the miracles of Saint Hugh of Lincoln

Conclusion

Claire Trenery completed her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2017. She specialises in the history of madness and medicine, focusing on the twelfth century and the cultural and intellectual climate that accompanied the development of Scholastic learning in Western Europe. She has published articles on medieval madness, with particular attention to the impact of madness on the bodies, minds and souls of sufferers.

Infos from the editor website

CFP: ‘More Fuss about the Body’ Volume – deadline February 1!

Call for Proposals for an Edited Volume:

More Fuss about the Body:
New Medievalists’ Perspectives

Editors: Leah Pope Parker and Stephanie Grace-Petinos

In her 1995 essay “Why All the Fuss about the Body?: A Medievalist’s Perspective,” Caroline Walker Bynum presented a nuanced picture of embodiment in the past in order “to suggest that we in the present would do well to focus on a wider range of topics in our study of body or bodies.”* The same year saw the release of Bynum’s magisterial exploration of the body, identity, and medieval Christian eschatology in The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200–1336. Almost 25 years later, Bynum’s call for diversity with respect to histories of the body still inspires increasingly nuanced approaches to medieval embodiment.

 London, British Library, “Harley Psalter” Harley MS 603, fol. 6v

London, British Library, “Harley Psalter” Harley MS 603, fol. 6v

We invite proposals for short essays of approximately 5,000 words for a volume of original research that seeks to revisit, expand, and update the ideas presented in Bynum’s seminal essay, while using it as a springboard for future investigations concerning the body, both medieval and modern. We seek essays that deal with personhood, identity, and the material body, updating histories of the body through areas of study that have grown in popularity since the mid-1990s, including disability studies, trans studies, queer theory, postcolonial studies, posthumanism, ecocriticism, animal studies, and the global Middle Ages, along with new developments in feminist and critical race theory. Possible essay topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Bodily integrity and the limits of the body, healing damage to the body, or bodies and borders (i.e. the treatment of bodies in immigration/incarceration);
  • Theologies of death and resurrection and rituals of burial and remembrance;
  • Bodies centered and marginalized—including discussion of recent movements such as #metoo and Black Lives Matter;
  • Gender expression and/through the body;
  • Normativity (cisheteronormativity, compulsory ablebodiedness, etc);
  • Flora and fauna, cyborgs and prosthesis;
  • Present-day concepts of embodiment and their medieval predecessors as presented in popular culture;
  • Comparative and cross-cultural concepts of the body; and/or
  • The body in queer/crip time.

The organizers of this panel are committed to including perspectives representative of the diversity of the field, and especially welcome proposals from “new” medievalists, that is in broad terms, those who have joined the field since 1995. In the spirit of Bynum’s invitation to consider “a wider range of topics in our study of body or bodies,” we welcome papers that offer critical reflections upon the field of medieval studies, and which represent diverse and innovative perspectives on medieval histories of the body and contemporary medievalisms.

Please send abstracts, accompanied by an author bio of no more than 200 words, to leahpopeparker@gmail.com by February 1, 2019.

NB: In order to achieve an accelerated production timeline, essay drafts will be due to the editors in fall 2019.


*Caroline Walker Bynum, “Why All the Fuss About the Body? A Medievalist’s Perspective,” Critical Inquiry 22 (1995): 1–33, p. 8.

More infos on the editor website

CFP – The Fifteenth Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference – Deviance: Aspects & Approaches – April 5.-6. 2019, Kellogg College, Oxford

We are pleased to open the Call for Papers for the Fifteenth Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference, sponsored by the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature. The conference is aimed at early career scholars and graduate students working in Medieval Studies. Contributions are welcomed from diverse fields of research such as History of Art and Architecture, History of Science, History, Theology, Philosophy, Music, Archaeology: Anthropology, Literature: and History of Ideas.

Papers should be a maximum of 20 minutes.
Please email 250-word abstracts to oxgradconf@gmail.com by 20. January 2019. Suggested topics might include, but are not limited to:


Divergent Behaviours: Norm.

  • Divergent behaviours

— Social transgressions

— Political, theological, moral deviance

— Diverging manuscript practices

— Diverging monastic practices

  • Normativity and non-normativity

— Recounting & imagining deviance

— Shifting norms & practices

— Power (im)balances & struggles

— Enforcing norms

— Responses to deviance

  • Bodies & minds

— Literary tropes (monstrosity, madness, leprosy, etc.)

— Linguistic shifts

— Ability & disability

The registration fee (including a wine reception) is expected to be £10 (tbc). There will be a conference dinner: it is hoped that this will cost in the region of £25. All updates and further information, including details of travel bursaries, can be obtained from the conference website:
aevum.space/deviance gBesanpon, BM, NIS 0677, fol. 77

Follow them on Twitter
@thMedGradConf
MEDIUM IEVUM – SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF MEDIEVAL LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE

New book – New Approaches to Disease, Disability and Medicine in Medieval Europe, eds. Erin Connelly and Stefanie Künzel (Archeopress, October 2018)

The majority of papers in this volume were originally presented at the eighth annual ‘Disease, Disability, and Medicine in Medieval Europe’ conference. The conference focused on infections, chronic illness, and the impact of infectious diseases on medieval society, including infection as a disability in the case of visible conditions, such as infected wounds, leprosy, syphilis, and tuberculosis. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this conference emphasised the importance of collaborative projects, novel avenues of research for treating infectious disease, and the value of considering medieval questions from the perspective of multiple disciplines. This volume aims to carry forward this interdisciplinary synergy by bringing together contributors from a variety of disciplines and from a diverse range of international institutions. Of note is the academic stage of the contributors in this volume. All the contributors were PhD candidates at the time of the conference, and the majority have completed or are in the final stages of completing their programmes at the time of this publication. The originality and calibre of research presented by these early career researchers demonstrates the promising future of the field, as well as the continued relevance of medieval studies for a wide range of disciplines and topics.

CONTENTS:

Foreword — Christina Lee

Introduction — Erin Connelly and Stefanie Künzel

Þu miht wiþ þam laþan ðe geond lond færð: Conceptualisations of Disease in Anglo-Saxon Charms — Stefanie Künzel

A Still Sound Mind: Personal Agency of Impaired People in Anglo-Saxon Care and Cure Narratives — Marit Ronen

Mobility Limitations and Assistive Aids in the Merovingian Burial Record — Cathrin Hähn

Tearing the Face in Grief and Rape: Cheek Rending in Medieval Iberia, c. 1000–1300 — Rachel Welsh

Clerical Leprosy and the Ecclesiastical Office: Dis/Ability and Canon Law — Ninon Dubourg

Inside the Leprosarium: Illness in the Daily Life of 14th Century Barcelona — Clara Jáuregui

Languages of Experience: Translating Medicine in MS Laud Misc — Lucy Barnhouse

Heillög Bein, Brotin Bein: Manifestations of Disease in Medieval Iceland — Cecilia Collins

A Case Study of Plantago in the Treatment of Infected Wounds in the Middle English Translation of Bernard of Gordon’s Lilium medicinae — Erin Connelly

Miserum spectaculum, horrendus fetor, aspectus horrendus: ‘Syphilis’ in Strasbourg at the Turn of the 16th Century — Christoph Wieselhuber

More infos on the editor website !

CFP – “Gender and ‘Aliens'” – Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2019

“Gender and ‘Aliens'” –

Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2019

 

In recent years discourse around ‘aliens’, as migrants living in modern nation-states, has been highly polarised, and the status of people who are technically termed legal or illegal aliens by the governments of those states has often been hotly contested. It is evident from studies of the past, however, that the movement of people is not a recent phenomenon: in the medieval west, one of the Latin terms applied to such people was alieni (‘foreigners’, or ‘strangers’), and it is clear from the surviving evidence that there were many people in the Middle Ages who could be, and indeed were, identified as aliens. This conference aims to stimulate debate about the ways in which gender intersected with and related to the idea of such aliens – and, more broadly, alienation – in the medieval world. Social, political and religious attitudes to aliens and the alienated were not constant over the centuries from c. 400 to c. 1500, and nor were they uniform across the whole world. Some foreigners, as aliens, might end up integrated into the societies they entered; others might find themselves marginalised, lonely or alone; or oppressed, as outlaws, outcasts, or slaves. Gender might exacerbate or mitigate this, depending on time, place and context. Authors or artists depicting parts of the world far from and alien to their own often filled them with people or beings not like them, demonstrating the imaginative power of alterity, while the reactions of those who encountered people from distant places and observed or participated in their customs could include recognition of similarity as well as difference. Foreigners were also not the only people who might find themselves alienated from, or within, certain societies or cultures: the medieval world included many marginalised groups. The issues of aliens and alienation may be differently construed in the modern world, but they are certainly not new. The relationship of gender to these topics is complex, variable and significant.

The conference aims to enable discussion of these issues as they relate to the whole medieval world from c. 400 to c. 1500. The organisers welcome proposals for papers on any topic related to gender and aliens or alienation, broadly construed, and encourage submissions relating to the world beyond Europe. Papers might consider issues such as:

* refugees, immigrants, emigrants

* inclusion and exclusion

* alterity and difference

* outlaws, the law, legality

* marginalised or disenfranchised groups

* non-normative bodies, illness, disability

* acculturation

* imagined geographies

* borders and frontiers

* ethnicity and identity

* slavery and slaves

In addition to sessions of papers, the conference will also include a poster session. Proposals for a 20-minute paper or for a poster can be submitted at https://tinyurl.com/gms2019submit by September 30th 2018. The conference organisers are also happy to consider proposals for other kinds of presentation: please contact the organisers at gmsconference2019@gmail.com to discuss these. Some travel bursaries will be available for students and unwaged delegates to attend this conference: please see http://medievalgender.co.uk/ for details.