CFP – Gender and History – Special Issue: Health, Healing and Caring

Gender & History is an international journal for research and writing on the history of femininity, masculinity and gender relations. This Call for Papers is aimed at scholars studying any country or region, and any temporal period, including the classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods.

This Special Issue will explore the gendered history of healing and caring from the perspective of the sick and suffering, and various types of healers and caregivers. It aims to move beyond institutional histories of biomedicine, canonical medical knowledge, and allopathic approaches to health. We seek to showcase research that reflects upon the gendered dynamics of palliative care and the formation of diverse communities and economies of health and healing. We recognize that historical reckonings of health and bodily knowledge in many locales have been dominated by sources maintained in state, colonial, and missionary archives, and by notions of medicine shaped in white settler institutions. In an effort to destabilize these reckonings and to uncover marginalized forms of knowledge and practice, we encourage research informed by diverse methodologies and an imaginative approach to source material.

In recent years, medical anthropologists have shed light on the complex and unequal co-production of biomedical knowledge and “traditional” forms of medicine while feminist sociologists have illuminated the gendered dynamics of caregiving and the devaluation of its everyday and emotional labor. How might historians engage these cross-disciplinary methods and insights to reconstruct more nuanced and more expansive histories of healing and caring? What happens to our gendered histories of illness and medicine when we de-naturalize biomedical formations and examine palliative care in addition to therapeutic treatment? How has gender shaped which forms of healing and caring are recognized and institutionalized, and how has such privileging changed over time?

We understand that historically a wide array of people have provided healing and caring including family members, shamans, spirit mediums, healers, Elders, herbalists, diviners, faith healers, and wise-women and men as well as midwives, nurses, aids, and doctors. Their practices have ranged from diagnosing illnesses, administering medicines, and performing procedures to offering spiritual and psychological counsel. They have also included forms of body work such as grooming, feeding, bathing, massage and manipulation, and handling the dead.

Papers are invited from established scholars as well as new, emerging, and unaffiliated scholars who consider a variety of historical moments and locations, or transnational and even global processes related to themes such as the following:

●Intersectional approaches that examine how social identities and inequalities rooted in gender,race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, religion, and nationality have long shaped people’s access tohealth resources and care and, in turn, given rise to disparate patterns and experiences of well-being and illness.

●Reconstruction of deep histories of gendered healing and caring, extending back well before thetwentieth century, that reveal how healing and caring practices have been central concerns forboth individuals and societies and how those concerns have often animated and reconfiguredcultural institutions, political ideologies, and economic relations and markets.

●Consideration of the connections and tensions between various modes of healing and palliation,and how those relations have informed the frequently gendered and racialized separation of“professional” and “modern” medicine from modes designated as “traditional,” “informal,”“alternative,” or “home-based.”

●Examination of how people have transmitted healing and caring epistemologies and practicesacross generations and geographic distances, including how women have sought to maintain orassert control over their health and how various archives have worked both to represent andobscure those efforts.

●Engagement with concepts from disability studies, queer theory, and crip theory to betterunderstand the history of illnesses and diseases that have often been both gendered andstigmatized such as depression, hysteria, reproductive maladies, infertility, and sexuallytransmitted infections.

Interested individuals are asked to submit 500-word abstracts, a brief biography (250 words), and a cv by 31 August 2019 at 5pm PDT for consideration. Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors and successful proponents will participate in a symposium at Vancouver Island University in British Columbia, Canada, on 8 May 2020. Papers must be submitted six weeks prior to the symposium. Papers should be 6000-8000 words in length. After the symposium, papers will go through the journal’s peer review system. As with any article, there is no guarantee of publication. The editors are in the process of applying for funding to defray the cost of the travel to the symposium for new, emerging, and unaffiliated scholars. Please send abstracts, biographies, and CVs by email to or by mail to The Editors, Gender & History, Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5S5. The Special Issue will be edited by Drs. Kristin Burnett, Sara Ritchey, and Lynn M. Thomas.

Special Issue Timeline Abstracts to SI editors — 31 August 2019 Papers circulated to symposium participants — 15 March 2020 Symposium at Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo, British Columbia) — 8 May 2020Full submissions to SI editors (papers submitted on ScholarOne) for peer review — 31 August, 2020 Revised submissions (and any image permissions) to SI editors — 31 May 2021 Publication — October 2021

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 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.

New Book – Poison, Medicine, and Disease in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, by Frederick W Gibbs

Poison, Medicine, and Disease in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Frederick W Gibbs


Features (from the editor website)

Challenges the standard histories of toxicology

Multi-faceted and innovative approach

Brings new perspectives to the study of the history of medicine

Summary (from the editor website)

This book presents a uniquely broad and pioneering history of premodern toxicology by exploring how late medieval and early modern (c. 1200–1600) physicians discussed the relationship between poison, medicine, and disease. Drawing from a wide range of medical and natural philosophical texts—with an emphasis on treatises that focused on poison, pharmacotherapeutics, plague, and the nature of disease—this study brings to light premodern physicians’ debates about the potential existence, nature, and properties of a category of substance theoretically harmful to the human body in even the smallest amount. Focusing on the category of poison (venenum) rather than on specific drugs reframes and remixes the standard histories of toxicology, pharmacology, and etiology, as well as shows how these aspects of medicine (although not yet formalized as independent disciplines) interacted with and shaped one another. Physicians argued, for instance, about what properties might distinguish poison from other substances, how poison injured the human body, the nature of poisonous bodies, and the role of poison in spreading, and to some extent defining, disease. The way physicians debated these questions shows that poison was far from an obvious and uncontested category of substance, and their effort to understand it sheds new light on the relationship between natural philosophy and medicine in the late medieval and early modern periods.

CFP – Giving and Receiving Care in Times of War – IMC Leeds 2018

Giving and Receiving Care in Times of War

International Medieval Congress – Leeds
July 2018

During conflicts, bodies and minds are subjected to injury. Although a truism, this aspect of the experience of medieval warfare is somewhat underexplored. Recent studies of wounds and wounding and the incidence and experience of sickness during military campaigns have begun to focus attention on how medieval combatants and non-combatants suffered bodily and mental damage in times of war. At the same time, new work has put this experience in a medical context, examining contemporary sources to see how the experience of infirmity in times of war was recorded and interpreted by observers in the medieval medical framework of humoralism. However, there is scope for further investigation across the whole medieval period, and in particular on the experience of the incapacitated as recipients of bodily, psychological, medical and spiritual care.


The experience of the injured, sick, and incapacitated is one half of any medical history; the identity and practice of those who offer care to them is the other half. The role of carer is a complex one. Carers might have significant knowledge of nursing or medicine, or be thrust into the role of carer by circumstance. They may experience physical and emotional labour in offering care to the incapacitated, and need care themselves. Recent work on the history of medical practitioners shows us that we should look beyond those identified as ‘medics’ in contemporary to fully understand the landscape of medical care in the Middle Ages, but such pluralistic approaches have not yet been fully exploited, nor applied to the context of care in warfare.

It is the aim of these proposed sessions to explore the role, agency, behaviour, and subjective experience of recipients and givers of care in times of warfare throughout the whole medieval period, taking in the early, central and later Middle Ages. Submissions from an interdisciplinary background are particularly welcomed, including, but not limited to, work on narrative texts, literary works, documentary records, artistic sources, religious texts and others. Geographical and linguistic scope is not limited. Proposals will be considered for inclusion in a possible publication.

Topics for discussion could include:
• The identity of caregivers, both formal and informal
• The identity of those requiring care
• Care of the wounded and care of the sick
• Gendered aspects of giving and receiving care
• Transportation of the sick, wounded, incapacitated
• Treatment of the dead
• Caring for enemies, or prisoners of war
• Physical and psychological care
• Spiritual care
• The depiction of care in literary or artistic sources
• The care of injured, incapacitated or disabled combatants
and non-combatants
• The care of animals in a military context
• The relationship between nursing and medical
• The absence of care

Abstracts of up to 300 words should be directed, to by 04 September 2017.

More info on

Podcast – Amputer au Moyen Âge par Patrice Georges

Archéologie de la santé – anthropologie du soin – Colloque international organisé par l’Inrap, en partenariat avec le Musée national de l’homme.
Les  30 novembre et  1er décembre 2016 à l’Auditorium Jean Rouch – Musée de l’Homme

par Patrice Georges, archéo-anthropologue à l’Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives (Inrap) et membre de l’UMR 5608 TRACES

L’ensemble des sources disponibles pour le Moyen Âge, dans l’acception la plus large du terme, permet de documenter l’opération chirurgicale de l’amputation (« ablation d’une extrémité du corps, voire d’une partie du corps »), tant sur le plan théorique que pratique. Sources historiques et archives du sol montrent un acte chirurgical réfléchi, maîtrisé, avec des outils appropriés et accompagné des soins concomitants.

Patrice Georges est archéo-anthropologue à l’Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives (Inrap) et membre de l’UMR 5608 TRACES « Travaux et recherches archéologiques sur les cultures, les espaces et les sociétés » (équipes Terrae et Pôle Afrique).

À ce titre, il consacre principalement ses recherches sur les pratiques funéraires et les gestes portés sur et autour du corps, en France comme à l’étranger. Il dirige la collection « Mourir à travers les siècles » aux éditions L’Harmattan.

Link for the podcast