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.

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)

CFP – The Body and the Text: Medical Humanities and Medieval Literature, c. 1150 – 1550 Leeds International Medieval Congress, 1-4 July 2019

The Body and the Text: Medical Humanities and Medieval Literature, c. 1150 – 1550

Leeds International Medieval Congress, 1-4 July 2019

Recent years have witnessed a surge in scholarship in the field of the Medical Humanities. In considering medicine in its cultural and social contexts, the Medical Humanities has symbolised a ‘paradigm shift away from what might be called medical reductionism to medical holism, where patients are not reduced to diseases and bodies but rather are seen as whole persons in contexts and in relations’ (Cole et al, 2015:8). In seeking to merge disciplines and foster interactive dialogues, this area of research is inherently inclusive, dynamic, and elastic. Furthermore, since the topics of science, medicine, eith physiology, religion, astrology, and magic were often discussed withinh the same medieval texts and contexts, te multidisciplinarity of the Medical Humanities is particularly apt for Medieval Studies.

We therefore seek to put together a session or sessions on Medieval Literature and the Medical Humanities. Our focus is global and will include proposals from two complementary directions: how are medicine, health and wellbeing represented in medieval and early modern literature? How may literary texts from this period contribute to training and practice in the Medical Humanities?

Proposals may include but are not confined to the following: Representations of health and sickness in literary texts;

  • Depictions of medical knowledge, practice and practitioners in literary texts;
  • Representations of the senses and / or emotions;
  • The relationship between medicine and religion in the Middle Ages;
  • Engagement with texts (reading and listening) as a therapeutic practice in the Middle Ages;
  • A consideration of how medieval literature might contribute to training and practice in the Medical Humanities;
  • Defining the Medical Humanities in a medieval context.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to the session organisers Dr Alison Williams (a.j.williams@swansea…uk) and It Laura Kalas Williams (I.e.williams@swansea.ac.uk) by 31 August 2018.

CFP – “Disability and the Medieval Cults of Saints: Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Approaches” – edited volume by Stephanie Grace-Petinos, Leah Pope Parker, and Alicia Spencer-Hall

CFP: Disability and the Medieval Cults of Saints: Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Approaches
Discussion published by Massimo Rondolino on Friday, July 27, 2018
Editors: Stephanie Grace-Petinos, Leah Pope Parker, and Alicia Spencer-Hall
We invite abstract submissions for 7,500-word essays to be included in an edited volume on the topic of Disability and the Medieval Cults of Saints. Because saints’ cults in the Middle Ages centralized the body—those of the saints themselves, those of devotees, and the idea of the body on earth and in the afterlife—scholars of medieval disability frequently find that our best sources are those that also deal with saints and sanctity. This volume therefore seeks to foster and assemble a wide range of approaches to disability in the context of medieval saints’ cults. We seek contributions spanning a variety of fields, including history, literature, art history, archaeology, material culture, histories of science and medicine, religious history, etc. We especially encourage contributions that extend beyond Roman Christianity (including non-Christian concepts of sanctity) and that extend beyond Europe/the West.
For the purposes of this volume, we define “disability” as broadly including physical impairment, diversity of bodily forms, chronic illness, neurodiversity (mental illness, cognitive impairment, etc), sensory impairment, and any other variation in bodily form or ability that affected medieval individuals’ role and treatment in their communities. We are open to topics spanning the medieval period both temporally and geographically, but also inclusive of late antiquity and the early modern era. The editors envision essays falling into three units: saints with disabilities; saints interacting with disability; and theorizing sanctity/disability.
We welcome proposals on topics including, but not limited to:
· Phenomenology of saints’ cults with respect to disability, e.g. pilgrimage, feast days, liturgy, etc;
· Materiality of sanctity involved in reliquaries, shrines, and relics;
· Doctrinal approaches to disability in relation to sanctity and holiness;
· Sanctity and bodies in the archaeological record;
· Intersections of disability and race/gender/sexuality/etc in hagiography, art, and material culture;
· Healing miracles and disabling miraculous punishments;
· Cross-cultural approaches to sanctity and disability;
· Saints who wrote about disability;
· Specific saints with connections to concepts of disability, e.g. Margaret of Antioch, Cosmas and Damian, Francis of Assisi, Dymphna, etc;
· Theorizing sanctity in relation to disability; and
· Saintly figures in non-hagiographic genres.
Timeline
Oct. 1, 2018 Proposals due
Oct. 31, 2018 Replies sent to proposals
Nov. 30, 2018 Volume proposal submitted to press (contributors will provide short abstracts and bios)
May 31, 2019 Essays due from contributors
Aug. 30, 2019 Editors deliver extensive feedback to contributors
Jan. 15, 2020 Revised essays due from contributors
April 3, 2020 Full volume manuscript delivered to press
Please submit abstracts of 300–400 words, along with a short author bio and a description of any images you anticipate wanting to include in your essay, to the editors at DisabilitySanctity@gmail.com by Monday, October 1, 2018.