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.

Handicaps, malformations et infirmités dans l’Antiquité

Sous la direction de Annie Allély 

Le dossier 2 relève des disability studies : il s’attache aux corps handicapés, malformés et infirmes, avec une attention particulière pour les embryons et les enfants – un champ de recherche encore nouveau pour les époques anciennes. La réflexion porte sur le vocabulaire utilisé pour nommer la différence physique et sur l’attitude des Anciens devant le handicap, celle-ci oscillant entre le rejet, l’élimination, et l’acceptation et l’intégration. Il y a peu d’ouvrages en français sur la question du handicap pour la période de l’Antiquité, le domaine ayant d’abord été exploré par des spécialistes anglo-saxons. Pour autant, les études contenues dans le dossier viennent compléter et enrichir la production non-francophone, sans la répéter ; elles s’adressent donc aussi aux chercheurs étrangers.

Annie Allély 
Introduction : Handicaps, malformations et infirmités dans l’Antiquité 

Embryons, nouveau-nés et enfants malformés 

Véronique Dasen 
Modèles anatomiques tératologiques et cabinets de curiosités dans l’Antiquité 

Annie Allély 
Les enfants handicapés, infirmes et malformés à Rome et dans l’Empire romain pendant l’Antiquité tardive 

Jeannine Boëldieu-Trevet 
Des nouveau-nés malformés et un roi boiteux : histoires Spartiates 

Jean-Baptiste Bonnard 
L’exposition des nouveau-nés handicapés dans le monde grec, entre réalités et mythes : un point sur la question 

Le corps handicapé, malformé et infirme 

Caroline Husquin 
Fiat Lux ! Cécité et déficiences visuelles à Rome : réalités et mythologies, des ténèbres à la lumière 

Catherine Baroin 
Boiterie et boiteux dans le monde romain à l’époque classique 

Jérôme Wilgaux 
Infirmités et prêtrise en Méditerranée antique 

Yannick Muller 
Infirmité et mutilation corporelle en Grèce ancienne : le cas de la famille étymologique de πηρός 

Patricia Gaillard-Seux 
Conclusions

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 – Afflicted Bodies, Affected Societies: Disease and Wellness in Historical Perspective – 5th Annual Symposium, Department of History, Seton Hall University

The year 2018 marks the centennial of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, one of the deadliest outbreaks of disease in recorded history. To acknowledge the social impact of illness on humanity, the History Department at Seton Hall University will host a two-day symposium on disease and wellness in historical perspective. Some of the questions we seek to investigate over the course of this symposium are as follows: How have notions of illness and wellness changed over time? In what ways have medical progress and discovery been shaped by wars and natural disasters? How did regimes of hygiene fashion social hierarchies or imperial policy? What have been the social, political, and economic consequences of the diseased body and/or mind in various societies? How do civilizations conceptualize disease and miracles within faith practices? How do public health and issues of social justice intersect?

Some additional topics for research papers include the following:

  • Medicine, war, and natural disasters
  • Medical progress, discovery, and vaccines
  • Colonial diseases and medicines
  • Traditional practices and practitioners
  • Professionalization of medicine
  • Cultural representations of health care
  • Saints, shamans, and spiritual dimensions of health
  • Gender dynamics of health
  • Disease and persecution
  • Drugs and addiction
  • Trauma and mental health

The symposium will be held on Thursday and Friday, 7-8 February. A keynote address by Alan Kraut, Professor of History at the American University, will open the symposium on Thursday, 7 February. The second day of the symposium will consist of panels and a roundtable discussion. The symposium will be held at the South Orange, New Jersey campus of Seton Hall University, about a half hour outside of New York City.

We welcome proposals from scholars from all fields interested in the historical implications of disease and wellness including history, literary studies, anthropology, and religion, from the ancient to modern period. Advanced graduate students, early career scholars, and senior researchers are encouraged to apply. Please send a single document containing 1) a title and an abstract of up to 250 words and 2) a short (one-paragraph) biography, to setonhallhistorysymposium@gmail.com by Monday, 19 November, 2018.

Seton Hall will provide two-nights of accommodations for all invited participants coming from outside the New York City/Northern New Jersey area, as well as meals for all invited panelists. Travel funding may also be available on a case-by-case basis.

Contact Info:
Please feel free to contact Anne Giblin Gedacht at anne.gedacht@shu.edu, or Golbarg Rekabtalaei at golbarg.rekabtalaei@shu.edu, with any questions. For more information about History at Seton Hall, please visit our website, https://www.shu.edu/history/.

CFP – Experiences of Dis/ability from the Late Middle Ages to the Mid-Twentieth Century 22 – 23 August 2019, Tampere University, Finland

Keynote speakers: David Lederer, Maynooth University; Donna Trembinski, St. Francis Xavier University; David Turner, Swansea University

In recent decades, dis/ability history has become an important field in its own right, standing at the crossroads of the social history of medicine, the history of minorities and the history of everyday life. Conceptions of and attitudes to physical and mental wellbeing and to difference are and have always been key elements in any human society, while the lived experience of dis/ability has varied across societies and time periods, but also depending on the person’s socioeconomic status, age, gender, and the nature of the impairment. Experiences of disability, whether personal or communal, have long continuities in the past, but they have also changed dramatically with the development of medical science and institutionalized care.

This conference aims to concentrate on the experiences of those with physical or mental impairments and chronic illnesses, with special reference to the period between the late Middle Ages and the mid-twentieth century. We understand dis/ability in a broad sense, covering a wide range of physical, mental and intellectual impairments and chronic illnesses. How, then, were various dis/abilities lived and experienced, how did communities shape these experiences, and what similarities and changes can we detect over the course of time? An important viewpoint is also that of methodology: how can a modern scholar approach the experience of those living in the past?

We thus invite papers that explore the ways in which ‘disabilities’ have been lived and experienced, in all stages of life, and by people of different social status and background. The conference aims to promote dialogue between disability historians across national and chronological borders and we welcome papers presenting new research and work in progress.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • How to approach the experience of dis/ability (sources, methodology)?
  • Different categories of dis/ability experience, or what counts as experience of disability?
  • How have society, religion and practices of care and cure defined the experience of disability?
  • Lived religion and dis/ability
  • Medicalization, institutionalization and everyday life
  • The impact of gender, age and social status on the experience of dis/ability
  • Lived welfare and everyday experiences of people with disabilities, e.g. living at home, in a workhouse or mental institution, the impact of various welfare systems.

To submit a proposal, please send title and abstract of 200 words, with your contact information and affiliation by February 15, 2019, at https://www.lyyti.in/disabilityexperience2019_callforpapers

Conference website: https://events.uta.fi/disabilityexperience2019/

Participation is free of charge, and includes lunches and coffees for speakers.

The conference is organized by the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX, https://research.uta.fi/hex/) at the University of Tampere and the group “Lived Religion” and has received funding from The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (https://wihurinrahasto.fi/?lang=en) and HEX. For more information, please write to the organizers (jenni.kuuliala@uta.fi and riikka.miettinen@uta.fi)