New Horizons in Premodern Public Health: A Workshop with Carole Rawcliffe

Thursday 7 June, 15.30-18.00 

Potgieterzaal | UB, Singel 425, Amsterdam

 

This workshop offers an interdisciplinary exchange between several experts in premodern public health. Carole Rawcliffe, author of Urban Bodies: Communal Health in Late Medieval English Towns and Cities (2013), one of the defining publications within the nascent field, will perform as an expert commentator on four presentations, ranging from the cultural history of medicine to urban archaeology.

Carole Rawcliffe is Professor Emerita of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia. She has published widely on the subject of medieval medicine (both spiritual and physical), hospitals, urban health and responses to disease. Together with Claire Weeda, she has edited the forthcoming volume Policing the Urban Environment in Premodern Europe (Amsterdam University Press). Other books include Medicine and Society in Later Medieval England (1995); Medicine for the Soul (1999); Leprosy in Medieval England (2006).  She also co-edited a collection of essays on East Anglia’s History (2002), a two-volume History of Norwich (2004) and a book of essays on Society in an Age of Plague (2011).

Program:

15.30-16.00.  Guy Geltner:  “General Introduction and Research Possibilities in Italy: Urban History, Archaeology and Culture”

16.00-16.30. Claire Weeda: “Organic Politics: Tying Together Public Health Theories, Politics and Practices.

16.30.  Break

16.45- 17.15. Roos van Oosten: “Mapping Health in a GIS Environment: Plague”.

17.15- 17.45.  Janna Coomans: “Healthscaping the Late Medieval Low Countries: Agents and Challenges.”

18.00  Drinks

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New Book by Guy Geltner – Roads to Health: Infrastructure and Public Wellbeing in Later Medieval Italy

Guy Geltner’s new book “Roads to Health: Infrastructure and Public Wellbeing in Later Medieval Italy” is in the process of being published by The University of Pennsylvania Press. This book “[…] proposes to examine public health from an emic (“insider”) perspective as a dynamic and historically contingent set of legal prohibitions, disciplining practices and subtle insinuations designed to improve health outcomes at the population level. It is decidedly not meant to set up later medieval cities as the antechamber of modernity, although resisting the teleology does not amount to suggesting that the period under consideration and eighteenth-century developments share no common ground whatsoever. For, if cities threatened to turn into Europe’s demographic black holes in the aftermath of industrialization, why not examine how governments and residents dealt with comparable pressures during western Europe’s first—medieval—widespread proliferation of cities and in one of its most urbanized regions, namely central-northern Italy? At this, by now well-documented level, my goal is to stimulate a different kind of conversation among health and medical historians and enable them, if not to reject, then at least to tread a little more carefully (and certainly less giddily) across an assumed pre/modern divide. Without dismissing the distinction’s analytical value tout court, it is important to ask more precisely what happened and more deliberately where lies the qualitative gap between two postulated (and all too often essentialized) eras, rather than assume and thereby perpetuate the notion of a pervasive hygienic ignorance among premodern urban residents.”

You can get access to a preprint, Open Access version of the book here.

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New Article by Janna Coomans: “The king of dirt: public health and sanitation in late medieval Ghent”

Abstract

Taking the office of the coninc der ribauden in Ghent as a case-study, this article reconstructs the enforcement of urban sanitation and preventative health practices during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The coninc managed a wide range of issues perceived as potentially polluting, damaging or threatening to health. Banning waste and chasing pigs as well as prostitutes off the streets, the office implemented a governmental vision on communal well-being. Health interests, as part of a broader pursuit of the common good, therefore played an important yet hitherto largely overlooked role in medieval urban governance.

You can have access to Janna Coomans’ article through Cambridge University Press.

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Premodern Public Health: Lecture Now Online

A video recording of Guy Geltner’s lecture in Monash University “Premodern Public Health: The End of an Oxymoron” is available online: https://arts.monash.edu/news/premodern-public-health-lecture

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Public Lecture – “Premodern Public Health: The End of an Oxymoron?”

 

Wednesday 18 April, 2018 at Monash University, Australia.

For more information, please contact Jocelyne Mohamudally
 (Email: jocelyne.mohamudally@monash.edu), or visit: https://arts.monash.edu/about/sophis.

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History Research Seminar: “In the Camp and on the March: How Armies Shaped Public Health History in the Premodern World”

In the Camp and on the March: How Armies Shaped Public Health History in the Premodern World”

Guy Geltner (UvA)

8 March 2018, 15:00–17:00VOC-zaal, Bushuis

Public health is widely viewed as a modern pursuit, enabled especially by the emergence of democratic nation states, centralized bureaucracies and advanced medicine. While social, urban and religious historians have begun chipping away at the entrenched dichotomy between pre/modernity that this view implies, evidence for community-level prophylactics in earlier societies also emerges from a group of somewhat unexpected sources, namely military manuals. Texts composed for (and often by) army leaders in medieval Latin Europe, Byzantium and other premodern civilizations spotlight the importance of preventative healthcare well before democratization, mass urbanization and biomedicine, thus paving a new path for historicizing biopolitics from a transregional or even global perspective. Moreover, at least in the context of medieval Europe, military manuals also demonstrate the enduring appeal of Hippocratic and Galenic medicine and how that tradition continued to shape the routines and material culture of vulnerable communities such as armies, centuries after their original articulation.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Drinks reception to follow. Please contact the organizers if you would like to join the speaker for dinner afterwards, at your own cost.(m.s.parry@uva.nl / J.J.V.Kuitenbrouwer@uva.nl)

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Postdoctoral Position: ‘Townscape and Healthscape: Mapping the Sanitary City in Italy’

Project and job description

HealthScaping seeks to trace the development and impact of preventative healthcare policies, medical discourses and social and religious action in the continent’s two most urbanized and richly documented regions in the later Middle Ages, Italy and the Low Countries. The project taps numerous written, material and visual sources and archaeological data from several sites, and examines them also by critically engaging the insights of governmentality studies, cultural-spatial analysis, and actor-network theory. A multidisciplinary team, working in a Geographical Information Systems environment and generating innovative urban health maps, will recover earlier societies’ struggles with domestic and industrial waste, travel and labor hazards, food quality, and social and religious behaviors considered harmful or dangerous.

Within this framework, a postdoctoral researcher will trace the trajectory of civic amenities and physical interventions that can be linked to prophylactic measures, as sources of pollution or preservers of health, including cemeteries, water-borne and other waste disposal systems, urban infrastructures such as wells, town walls and latrines, and harm-reductive institutions such as leprosaria, hospitals and almshouses. The information gathered will be assembled into new, chronologically layered maps of urban health, achieved by using software to enable different presentations. These will accordingly be used as analytical tools tracing flux and enabling multifocality, for the benefit of other team members as well.

Requirements

Applicants must have:

  • a PhD in medieval archaeology, with a specific focus on Italy;
  • a research and publication record commensurate with their career stage;
  • specialist knowledge of premodern medical history (theory, policy, and practice);
  • significant research experience in Italian sites, including working in a GIS environment;
  • a thorough command of Latin and Italian, excellent English and a working knowledge of languages pertinent to the field’s professional literature;
  • a theoretical background in urban studies and material culture;
  • a strong creative and cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research in a multidisciplinary team; and
  • strong organizational skills.

Further information

Only qualified applicants, as detailed above, should apply. For further information, please contact:

Appointment

The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed for 30,4 hours per week (0.8 FTE) for a maximum period of four years at the Department of History, European Studies & Religious Studies of the Faculty of Humanities. The research will be carried out under the aegis of ASH. The appointment is initially for a period of 12 months; contingent on satisfactory performance it will be extended by a maximum of 36 months. The intended starting date of the contract is 1 September 2018. The gross monthly salary (on full-time basis) will range from €3,238 to €3,954 depending on experience and qualifications, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Job application

Applications should include only the following information, in one PDF file (not zipped):

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a full academic CV, including a list of publications;
  • the names and contact details of two referees who may be approached by the selection committee;
  • an original article/chapter-length text (up to 10,000 words) relating directly to the research field;
  • in case the PhD has not been formally awarded yet: a statement from the dissertation supervisor (or equivalent) of the candidate’s current status and graduation plan.

Applicants must have completed their PhD before the start of this postdoctoral project.

Please submit your complete application no later than 15 February 2018 to solliciteren2018-FGW@uva.nl.

Only complete applications submitted as one PDF file to this email address will be considered.

Please state vacancy number 18-032 in the subject line of your application.

Interviews will take place in first two weeks of April.  For candidates living abroad, interviews may be held via Skype.

No agencies please!

You can see the original announcement here.

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PhD Position: Prophylactic Healthcare and the Urban Public

Project description

HealthScaping traces the development and impact of preventative healthcare policies, medical discourses and social and religious practices in the continent’s two most urbanized regions in the later Middle Ages, Italy and the Low Countries. The project taps numerous written, material and visual sources and archaeological data from several sites, and examines them also by critically engaging the insights of governmentality studies, cultural-spatial analysis and actor-network theory. A multidisciplinary team, also working in a Geographical Information Systems environment and generating innovative urban health maps, will recover earlier societies’ struggles with domestic and industrial waste, travel and labor hazards, food quality, and social and religious behaviors considered harmful or dangerous.

Within this framework, a PhD candidate proficient in Latin and the relevant vernacular/s will chart and analyse the dissemination of medical knowledge pertaining to prophylactic healthcare passed along several textual and visual conduits beyond the boundaries of traditional medical literature and in two distinct spheres. First, it will track the transmission of medical knowledge among the urban population – identifying medical arguments bearing upon the non-naturals (including quality of air and water, diet, evacuations, motion and rest), hygiene and the senses and their interpretation of physical and spiritual wellbeing in schoolrooms, from the pulpit as well as in urban households. Secondly, it will contextualize the dissemination of prophylactic knowledge and its application in normative sources regulating behaviour, for instance in municipal and guild statutes, regulations of brotherhoods and monastic regulae produced especially in cities in Italy and/or the Low Countries. Researching the interplay of arguments between medical knowledge, good citizenship and social hygiene in diverse behavioral scripts, this research will identify and study the specific urban milieus where medical knowledge was adapted and disseminated, thereby offering a unique insight into the levels of public health awareness and responses thereto, both of compliance and resistance, beyond academic environs.

The PhD candidate’s tasks will include:

  • completion and defence of a PhD thesis within 4 years;
  • writing two peer-reviewed scholarly articles in major journals;
  • contributing to the project database;
  • active participation in and organization of project activities.

Requirements

The successful applicant must have:

  • a completed Research MA or equivalent in medieval history or a related field in the Humanities;
  • knowledge of premodern health and urban history;
  • research experience in archives and manuscript libraries;
  • a thorough command of Latin and relevant vernaculars (Middle Dutch and/or Italian), excellent English and a working knowledge of pertinent modern languages, e.g. French, German, Italian, Spanish;
  • enthusiasm for collaborative, multidisciplinary research;
  • strong organizational skills.

Further information

For further information, please contact:

Appointment

The appointment will be for 30.4 hours per week (0.8 FTE) for a maximum period of four years at the Department of History, European Studies & Religious Studies of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. The research will be carried out under the aegis of ASH. The appointment is initially for a period of 16 months; contingent on satisfactory performance it will be extended by a maximum of 32 months. The intended starting date of the contract is 1 September 2018. The gross monthly salary (on a full-time basis) will range from €2,222 during the first year to €2,840 during the fourth year, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Job application

Applications should include the following information, in one PDF file (not zipped):

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a full academic CV;
  • a writing sample of c. 10.000 words (the equivalent of an article or book chapter);
  • the names and contact details of two referees who may be approached by the selection committee.

Applicants must have completed their RMA before the start of this PhD project.

Please submit your complete application no later than 15 February 2018 to solliciteren2018-FGW@uva.nl.

Only complete applications submitted as one PDF file to this email address will be considered.

Please state vacancy number 18-025 in the subject line of your application.

Interviews will take place in the first two weeks of April. For candidates living abroad, interviews may be held via Skype.

No agencies please!

You can see the original announcement here.

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Re‐thinking medieval and early modern pestilences from a biosocial perspective: advanced methods and renewed concepts in archaeological sciences, Barcelona 5‐8 September 2018

EAA Barcelona 2018 – 5‐8 September 2018
Call for Papers and Posters
Deadline: 15 February 2018

Re‐thinking medieval and early modern pestilences from a biosocial perspective: advanced methods and renewed concepts in archaeological sciences

 

While contagious diseases have affected the human species since its origins, great medieval epidemics (e.g. plague, leprosy, tuberculosis) have sparked particular interest for decades. In recent years, archaeology has played an increasing role in the scientific study of medieval pestilences, notably by providing reliable data on both the paleobiology of epidemic victims and their burial treatment. Despite the various breakthroughs reached by interdisciplinary research, the study of past epidemics still needs to get improved, particularly through an integrated analysis of biological and social dimensions of these diseases, which are closely interrelated. We invite contributions regarding both recent methodological advances in the retrospective diagnosis of infectious diseases and the output of archaeological sciences on social and cultural factors acting in human populations’ adaptability to these diseases.

The session shall address various questions, among which:
– What are the new lines of research and future perspectives in paleopathological and palaeomicrobiological study of these diseases?
– What information paleobiological data derived from skeletal assemblages can provide on the epidemiological characteristics of the diseases?
– What was the endemicity of diseases in various places, how did they evolve over time, and how did various diseases competed each other?
– How funerary archaeology and textual sources contributes to reappraise the history of these diseases (e.g. attitudes towards the victims in terms of their integration and/or exclusion, depending on the time period and cultural framework)?
– Which methodological implementation would be desirable in the future to allow retrospective diagnosis of still poorly-known diseases (e.g. ergotism)?

Keywords: Archaeology, Paleomicrobiology, Paleopathology, Medieval, Epidemics

Session details:
– Session theme: Theories and methods in archaeological sciences
– Session ID: #413
– Session type: Session, made up of a combination of papers, max. 15 minutes each

Session organizers:
– Dr. Dominique Castex, CNRS, UMR 5199 – PACEA, Université de Bordeaux, Pessac, France, dominique.castex@u-bordeaux.fr
– Dr. Mark Guillon, Inrap, UMR 5199 – PACEA, Université de Bordeaux, Pessac, France, mark.guillon@inrap.fr
– Maria Spyrou, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany, spyrou@shh.mpg.de
– Marcel Keller, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany, keller@shh.mpg.de
– Dr. Sacha Kacki, Department of Archaeology, Durham University, United Kingdom, sacha.s.kacki@durham.ac.uk

Abstract submission deadline: 15 February 2018

If you are interested to submit a Paper or Poster proposal, please use the conference website at https://www.e‐a‐a.org/EAA2018/

Further information, including registration details, general and practical information, etc. can be found on the conference website.

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To your health! EAA 2018, Barcelona, 5-8 September, session #208

To your health!

Tracing health in urban environments in medieval Northern Europe

Although inhabitants of Northern European medieval towns conceived of and knew about disease and “not being healthy” in ways other than ours, similar health risk factors were at play, such as poverty, lifestyle, environment, mobility and gender differences. This session aims to explore the relationship between health and the physical environment, including climate, nutrition, diet and mobility, are how they are linked together by complex cultural and social practices which constituted the dynamics of medieval urban living. There is considerable potential to come to a more in-depth understanding of the relationship between the advancement of public health and the physical factors that played a fundamental role in the development of the ‘medieval urban way of life’. New and improved methods in genetics, physics, paleometereology, archaeo-osteology, paleobotany, parasitology, archeo-zoology, histotaphonomy, high-density dating, etc. offer entirely new avenues to extract health- and environment meaning both from skeletal and conventional archaeological sources. How can these untapped sources provide profound new insights into the overall health of urban communities and shows how particular environmental elements in the urban landscape are linked to external factors, such as climate, nutrition, mobility and dietary practices.

Theme: Theories and methods in archaeological sciences

Session format: Session, made up of a combination of papers, max. 15 minutes each

Organisers: Axel Christophersen (Norway), Joackim Kjellberg (Sweden)

Submit paper abstracts through: https://www.e-a-a.org/EAA2018/

Contacts: axel.christophersen@ntnu.no or joakim.kjellberg@arkeologi.uu.se

Session 208 is associated with MERC

Take a look at their flyer: EAA 2018 session flyer

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