Conference – Cherry-Picking or Consilience? Human Actors, Invisible Microbes, and (Non-)collaboration in Disease History – Monica H. Green – AHA conference

Session : Historians and Geneticists in Collaborative Research

AHA Session 254
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 3A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level) Denver.
Chair:
John R. McNeill, Georgetown University

Session Abstract:

An editorial in Nature (25 May 2016) notes that historians have been critical of recent interpretations of European migrations by geneticists, but from their armchairs. Princeton Medieval historian Patrick Geary is quoted as urging historians to be more proactive and take part in genetic research: “If historians do not get involved and engage with this technology seriously, we’re going to see more and more studies that are done by geneticists with very little input from historians, or from frankly second-rate historians.” This session includes presentations by two historians and one geneticist, to show how collaborative study linking historians and geneticists can advance the quality of historical studies relying on genetic information. The session is intended to encourage discussion among historians, especially early-career historians, on how involvement in research and study of the genetic-historical literature can lead to rewarding careers that substantially advance knowledge of the human past from this new angle.

Cherry-Picking or Consilience? Human Actors, Invisible Microbes, and (Non-)collaboration in Disease History

Saturday, January 7, 2017: 3:50 PM, Mile High Ballroom 3A (Colorado Convention Center)

Monica H. Green, Arizona State University

Every pre-modern historian knows how rarely we have all the evidence we want. We know that something happened in history’s silences because we know that human societies persisted. So, too, the palaeogeneticist must assume the continuity of life between the few random molecular fossils uncovered from the past, for that is the basic premise of evolutionary theory. But in all fields that deal with gap-ridden evidence, the question remains: what are legitimate methods for construing what happened in those gaps?Although climate scientists and historians now work toward consilience of written and physical data, that happy détente has yet to be achieved in biological history. Yes, the call to resist “cherry picking those milestones in human history that are best recorded” should be heeded. But what happens when this new kind of bioarchaeology treads into territory historians consider theirs, where there are written records? Who cedes to whom?

This paper will focus not on human genetics but on the molecular histories of the pathogens that kill and maim us. I will use the example of the Second Plague Pandemic (14th-19th centuries) to assert that consilience with History, with a capital ‘H’, is urgently needed for one simple reason: because the most disruptive biological actors in epidemic circumstances are humans themselves.

More information on the AHA program !

New publication – The Routledge History of Disease ed. by Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson, The Routledge history of disease, 2016.

 

The Routledge History of Disease draws on innovative scholarship in the history of medicine to explore the challenges involved in writing about health and disease throughout the past and across the globe, presenting a varied range of case studies and perspectives on the patterns, technologies and narratives of disease that can be identified in the past and that continue to influence our present.

Organized thematically, chapters examine particular forms and conceptualizations of disease, covering subjects from leprosy in medieval Europe and cancer screening practices in twentieth-century USA to the ayurvedic tradition in ancient India and the pioneering studies of mental illness that took place in nineteenth-century Paris, as well as discussing the various sources and methods that can be used to understand the social and cultural contexts of disease. The book is divided into four sections, focusing in turn on historical models of disease, shifting temporal and geographical patterns of disease, the impact of new technologies on categorizing, diagnosing and treating disease, and the different ways in which patients and practitioners, as well as novelists and playwrights, have made sense of their experiences of disease in the past.

International in scope, chronologically wide-ranging and illustrated with images and maps, this comprehensive volume is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of health through the ages.

 

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

Acknowledgements

List of contributors

1. Perspectives on the History of Disease – Mark Jackson

Part One: Models

2. Humours and Humoral Theory – Jim Hankinson

3. Models of Disease in Ayurvedic Medicine – Dominik Wujastyk

4. Religion, Magic and Medicine – Catherine Rider

5. Contagion – Michael Worboys

6. Emotions and Mental Illness – Elena Carrera

7. Deviance as Disease: The Medicalization of Sex and Crime – Jana Funke

Part Two: Patterns

8. Pandemics – Mark Harrison

9. Patterns of Animal Disease – Abigail Woods

10. Patterns of Plague in Late Medieval and Early-Modern Europe – Samuel Cohn

11. Symptoms of Empire: Cholera in Southeast Asia, 1820-1850 – Robert Peckham

12. Disease, Geography, and the Market: Epidemics of Cholera in Tokyo in the Late Nineteenth Century – Akihito Suzuki

13. Histories and Narratives of Yellow Fever in Latin America – Monica Garcia

14. Race, Disease and Public Health: Perceptions of Māori Health – Katrina Ford

15. Re-writing the ‘English disease’: Migration, Ethnicity and ‘Tropical Rickets’ – Roberta Bivins

16. Social Geographies of Sickness and Health in Contemporary Paris: Toward a Human Ecology of Mortality in the 2003 Heat Wave Disaster – Richard Keller

Part Three: Technologies

17. Disability and Prosthetics in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-century England – David Turner

18. Disease, Rehabilitation and Pain – Julie Anderson

19. From Paraffin to PIP: The Surgical Search for the Perfect Breast – Fay Bound Alberti

20. Cancer Screening – David Cantor

21. Medical Bacteriology: Microbes and Disease, 1870 – 2000 – Christoph Gradmann

22. Technology and the `Social Disease’ – Helen Bynum

23. Reorganising Chronic Disease Management: Diabetes and Bureaucratic Technologies in Post-War British General Practice – Martin Moore

24. Before HIV: Venereal Disease Among Homosexually Active Men in the Anglo-American World – Richard McKay

Part Four: Narratives

25. Leprosy and Identity in the Middle Ages – Elma Brenner

26. French Medical Consultations by Mail, 1600-1800 – Robert Weston

27. The Clinical Narratives of James Parkinson’s Essay on the Shaking Palsy (1817) – Brian Hurwitz

28. Digital Narratives: 4 ‘Hits’ in the History of Migraine – Katherine Foxhall

29. Case Notes and Madness – Alannah Tomkins

30. Literature and Disease: A Novel Contagion – Sam Goodman

31. When Bodies Need Stories in Pictures – Arthur Frank

32. Living in the Present: Illness, Phenomenology, and Well-being – Havi Carel

Index

Find all the information on the editor website (Routledge)

News ! – Serie editor on Disability History – Manchester University Press

Fools and idiots?
 

This series responds to the growing interest in disability as a discipline worthy of historical research. It has a broad international historical remit, encompassing issues that include class, race, gender, age, war, medical treatment, professionalisation, environments, work, institutions and cultural and social aspects of disablement including representations of disabled people in literature, film, art and the media.

Series editors: Dr. Julie Anderson and Professor Walton Schalick

Find mor informations on the Manchester University Press website

CFP – Wounding and Caring: Vulnerable Bodies in Narrative at the American Comparative Literature Association – Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands July 6-9, 2017.

Seminar – Wounding and Caring: Vulnerable Bodies in Narrative at the American Comparative Literature Association – Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands July 6-9, 2017.

Organizer: Andreea Marculescu

Co-Organizer: Amit Baishya

 

Vulnerability is a key term in a strand of recent feminist scholarship (Adriana Cavarero, Judith Butler, Rosalyn Diprose, Kelly Oliver, Ann Murphy). Vulnerability is not defined here as a temporary situation specific to certain subjects; rather, as Butler points out in Frames of War, it is a condition of social life, one where the subject is exposed to forms of violence that she cannot anticipate or pre-empt. In this sense, vulnerability is intrinsic to definitions of the “human” and captures the subject in intersubjective relations with a host of (unknown and, possibly, unknowable) others. Consideration of vulnerability entails, thus, both the recognition of one’s own dependency on others and the designing of collective mechanisms and frameworks of care for bodies. Furthermore, following the etymological root of the word vulnerability (the Latin vulnus), Cavarero underlines that this category designates a susceptibility to both wounding and caring. As a wounded body, the subject is unilaterally exposed to pain and suffering. The subject afflicted by such violence is trapped in the reality of her own suffering; she cannot step away or fight against the infliction of suffering upon her. Yet, this suffering body can also be cared for by others.

 

Therefore, while the risk of violence done by the other is a crucial factor in the analysis of vulnerability, frames of care that recognize the existence of particular vulnerable bodies should also be part of the critical discourse about the ethical and ontological status of precarious subjects. Indeed, external socio-political frameworks are crucial in validating which subjects can be placed (or not) under the category of vulnerability. Hence the need, according to Butler, for the introduction of a term such as “grievability”—the condition of possibility that determines whether a life is encompassed within the frames of vulnerability, risk and precariousness. “Wounding,” “caring,” “grievability,” and “responsibility” become, therefore, key terms that must be critically elaborated in tracing the physico-emotional profile of vulnerable bodies and also the recognition of their socio-cultural value.

 

Keeping these insights in mind, this seminar seeks to discuss the narrative production, valuation and circulation of vulnerable bodies belonging to different historical, social and political contexts. As we mentioned above, vulnerability should be understood as a shared condition that places us in relationships of dependence and linkage to others. We would like to initiate a transhistorical and cross-cultural discussion about the representation of vulnerable bodies in the dual sense outlined above in this seminar.

Contact the Seminar Organizers

Submit a paper for this seminar.

News ! – Call for proposal – Serie “Mental Health in Historical Perspective” ed. by Palgrave MacMillan

Mental Health in Historical Perspective

Editors : Coleborne, C. (Ed), Smith, M. (Ed)

Covering all historical periods and geographical contexts, the series explores how mental illness has been understood, experienced, diagnosed, treated and contested. It will publish works that engage actively with contemporary debates related to mental health and, as such, will be of interest not only to historians, but also mental health professionals, patients and policy makers. With its focus on mental health, rather than just psychiatry, the series will endeavour to provide more patient-centred histories. Although this has long been an aim of health historians, it has not been realised, and this series aims to change that. The scope of the series is kept as broad as possible to attract good quality proposals about all aspects of the history of mental health from all periods.
The series emphasises interdisciplinary approaches to the field of study, and encourages short titles, longer works, collections, and titles which stretch the boundaries of academic publishing in new ways.