Science and Medicine in the Insular Middle Ages

Queen’s University Belfast
7th December 2018

This one-day symposium focuses on the reception, transmission and translation of scientific and medical knowledge in the Insular Middle Ages. The papers presented overview a variety of subjects: Old and Middle English, Old and Middle Irish, Latin, Old Norse, Medieval Welsh, as well as archaeology, manuscript studies, historical linguistics,and history of science.

This symposium offers a platform of discussion for scholars interested in the reception and transmission of scientific and medical knowledge over several centuries and across borders in England, Ireland, Wales, and Scandinavia.

You can find more information here.

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Preserving the Past in 3D. Application of GIS and Photogrammetry to Human Burials

Presentation and Workshop with Francesco Coschino

Thursday, 13 December, 17:00-20:00

Oudemanhuispoort (Oudemanhuispoort 4-6), Room C1.23

This workshop presents preliminary results of an urban health analysis of medieval Bologna, as part of the Healthscaping Urban Europe project; this project is examining medieval health in Italy and the Low Countries, from AD 1200 to 1500. What was city life like in medieval Bologna? What were the health risks urban dwellers faced? This research uses GIS to correlate archaeological and historical information relating to urban infrastructure, waste disposal, and population before and after the Black Death. It examines how health and urban cleanliness differed within and around Bologna during this critical period, and how health promoting strategies changed over time.

Archaeology is, by its very nature, a destructive discipline: to uncover buried features we are forced to remove the past in layers, one by one, working back in time. The destruction of evidence that remained unaltered for centuries or millennia is the price we pay to learn about the past. When considering the excavation of any archaeological site, professionals should assess the impact of their actions and ensure that the results of their work outweigh the inevitable alteration of the subject matter.

The archaeological excavation of cemeteries has the potential to provide important information on the lifeways of past people, to complement historical records with physical evidence, and to ensure that the lessons of the past are not forgotten. Additionally, when a project aims to recover the past for the benefit of the entire community, archaeological investigations can play a major role in leading the restoration and preservation of valuable historical sites.

In recent years, technological advances have allowed archaeologists to incorporate tools and techniques that were developed in other disciplines, but whose application to archaeology has the potential to largely enrich our documentation capabilities. For instance, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), initially developed in cartography, now represent the gold standard for archaeological mapping and spatial analyses, with ever-growing applications and capabilities.

Digital photogrammetry is a more recent introduction into the archaeologist’s digital toolkit and its application to human burials holds high promise. Digital photogrammetry is a discipline based on photography and measurements that, by using photographs and specific software, allows to obtain a virtual model of an object that entirely preserves its original dimensional proportions.

One of the most important features of photogrammetry is that it gives researchers the ability to study objects without the need for physical interaction. This is particularly important when dealing with very fragile items, which may lay undisturbed in their original context (or in conditions suitable for their preservation). Photogrammetry is not limited to small objects, but can be applied also to larger structures (e.g., buildings) and objects that are inaccessible but visible. Ultimately, if something can be seen and photographed, it may be processed and converted into a 3D model. When applied to human burials, photogrammetry proves to be an exceptional means toward documentation and preservation that goes beyond conventional two-dimensional tools. In spite of the destructive nature of archaeology, photogrammetry allows to create a virtual replica of a burial, which will always be available for study even after the original feature has been removed from its original context. Furthermore, a 3D replica of a burial that may have been damaged or lost will always be much more revealing than a simple, conventional data sheet.

The contribution will examine the survey techniques and geographical management of data from archaeological and bio-archaeological contexts, focusing on some case studies in Italy and in the United States concerning episodes of cholera epidemics.

Francesco Coschino is a Medieval Archaeologist and Paleopathologist at the University of Pisa, Italy. He is the president of IRLAB (Institute for Research and Learning in Archaeology and Bioarchaeology), USA. His research interests involve archaeology, humanistic informatics, paleopathology and physical anthropology; he is particularly interested in computer models and their applications to collection and management of anthropological data. He is involved in anthropological/archaeological research and professional archaeological excavations and collaborates with Italian universities and institutions as well as Ohio State University.

Taylor Zaneri is a medieval archaeologist from New York. Her dissertation research examined the impact of lower-class rural producers in the emergence of the medieval city-state of Lucca, using geospatial, landscape, and zooarchaeological methods. She is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher as part of Dr. Guy Gelter’s Healthscaping Urban Europe project, using GIS to examine health and cleanliness in medieval Italian cities from 1200-1500.

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The Path to Pistoia: An Infrastructural Approach to Urban Hygiene before The Black Death

02 November 2018, 16:00.

Bushuis (Kloveniersburgwal 48), room E1.02.

In the second seminar of UvA Medieval Historians, Guy Geltner will discuss his new artile “The Path to Pistoia: An Infrastructural Approach to Urban Hygiene before The Black Death”.

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Lecture and Masterclass with Monica H. Green

Lecture Monica Green, Arizona State University, 13 November 2018 in Utrecht

On November 13thMonica Green will give a lecture: A New Story of the Black Death: The Latest Work on the Science and History of the World’s Largest Pandemic

Our understanding of the Black Death, the plague pandemic that ravaged Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa between 1346 and 1353, has been transformed in the last decade and a half because of new developments in genetics. Historians are now learning how to incorporate the findings from genetics into new narratives, ones that show that this largest of pandemics was even larger, and more widespread, than we ever imagined before. This talk will summarize the latest work in the field, and sketch out future directions of research.

Lunch lecture
This lecture is open to the public, but with regard to accommodation and lunch, we would like you to register with Joris Roosen, j.roosen@uu.nl. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Date: November 13th, 2018
Time: 10.00-12.00 – lunch will be provided.
Place: IOS-conference room, ground floor Institutions-building, Wittevrouwenstraat 7bis, Utrecht University

Masterclass with Monica Green – 13 November, Utrecht University

The masterclass will follow the lunch lecture by Professor Green which will take place between 10.00 and 12.00 on the same day. Masterclass participants will be invited to attend the lecture, lunch will be provided.

Date: November 13th, 2018
Time: 12.00-15.00
Place: IOS-conference room, ground floor Institutions-building, Wittevrouwenstraat 7bis, Utrecht University

Monica H. Green is Professor of History at Arizona State University. She specializes in medieval European medical history and the global history of infectious diseases. Among her recent works is (as editor) Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death and studies plague and other infectious diseases in Africa, the Indian Ocean world, and Eurasia. She has won prizes for both her teaching and her research. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious CARA Award for Excellence in Teaching Medieval Studies by the Medieval Academy of America. You can follow her on Twitter @monicaMedHist.

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Lecture and Masterclass with Monica H. Green on Black Death

Lecture Monica Green, Arizona State University, 13 November 2018 in Utrecht

A New Story of the Black Death: The Latest Work on the Science and History of the World’s Largest Pandemic

Our understanding of the Black Death, the plague pandemic that ravaged Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa between 1346 and 1353, has been transformed in the last decade and a half because of new developments in genetics. Historians are now learning how to incorporate the findings from genetics into new narratives, ones that show that this largest of pandemics was even larger, and more widespread, than we ever imagined before. This talk will summarize the latest work in the field, and sketch out future directions of research.

Lunch lecture
This lecture is open to the public, but with regard to accommodation and lunch, we would like you to register with Joris Roosen, j.roosen@uu.nl. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Date: November 13th, 2018
Time: 10.00-12.00 – lunch will be provided.
Place: IOS-conference room, ground floor Institutions-building, Wittevrouwenstraat 7bis, Utrecht University

Masterclass with Monica Green – 13 November, Utrecht University

The masterclass will follow the lunch lecture by Professor Green which will take place between 10.00 and 12.00 on the same day. Masterclass participants will be invited to attend the lecture, lunch will be provided.

Date: November 13th, 2018
Time: 12.00-15.00
Place: IOS-conference room, ground floor Institutions-building, Wittevrouwenstraat 7bis, Utrecht University

Monica H. Green is Professor of History at Arizona State University. She specializes in medieval European medical history and the global history of infectious diseases. Among her recent works is (as editor) Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death and studies plague and other infectious diseases in Africa, the Indian Ocean world, and Eurasia. She has won prizes for both her teaching and her research. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious CARA Award for Excellence in Teaching Medieval Studies by the Medieval Academy of America. You can follow her on Twitter @monicaMedHist.

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New Horizons in Premodern Public Health: An Interdisciplinary Workshop with Kathleen Davis

Thursday, 4 October, 13:00-16:00

Potgieterzaal, University Library (Singel 425)

During this workshop, members of the research team, in dialogue with Kathleen Davis, discuss various aspects of the Premodern Healthscaping research project.

Kathleen Davis is Professor of English and Medieval Studies at the University of Rhode Island. She has worked in the fields of Old and Middle English literature, translation studies, and postcolonial criticism. Most recently, her engagement with colonial histories and postcolonial theory led her to examine the periodizing process that gave us the categories of the “medieval” and the “modern,” and to investigate the relation of that process to colonial rule. She is the author of Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time; and co-editor, with Nadia Altschul, of Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of “the Middle Ages” Outside Europe. Professor Davis has also worked on Old English literature and Old and Middle English translation, and is the author of Deconstruction and Translation.

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“From Periodization to the Autoimmune Secular State” – Kathleen Davis

Public lecture, organised by Premodern Healthscaping Research Project and Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis.

03 October 2018, 16:00-18:00.

Bushuis (Kloveniersburgwal 48), VOC room.

My main concern in this talk is the fundamental but often unrecognized work (political, legal, historical) that is accomplished by medieval/modern periodization. By medieval/modern periodization I mean the constitution of the period that we call “the Middle Ages” and its simultaneous distinction from the co-constituted “modern.” I will detail the scope and structure of this periodization and will argue, as I’ve done before, that the constitution of this Middle Ages operated as a space-clearing, exclusionary process that was fully enmeshed with the projects of colonialism. The interrelation of periodization and colonialism was crucial to the formation of academic disciplines and the categories they study, ultimately buttressing both the hegemony of the “modern” that has been so difficult to assail and the apparent undeniability of certain “early modern” events as foundational to politics as it is understood to operate today. It is very difficult to shake off a period concept such as “the Middle Ages” when the effects of its formation saturate every thread of one’s discipline.  I will also argue that the colonial legacy of this periodization fully inhabits the categories of the secular and sovereignty, as well as the intersection of these two, and that it is therefore implicated in the autoimmune process of the secular state, which I will address at the end of this talk.

Kathleen Davis is Professor of English and Medieval Studies at the University of Rhode Island. She has worked in the fields of Old and Middle English literature, translation studies, and postcolonial criticism. Most recently, her engagement with colonial histories and postcolonial theory led her to examine the periodizing process that gave us the categories of the “medieval” and the “modern,” and to investigate the relation of that process to colonial rule. She is the author of Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time; and co-editor, with Nadia Altschul, of Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of “the Middle Ages” Outside Europe. Professor Davis has also worked on Old English literature and Old and Middle English translation, and is the author of Deconstruction and Translation.

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New Article by Guy Geltner: “In the Camp and on the March: Military Manuals as Sources for Studying Premodern Public Health”

Abstract: Historians tend to view public health as a quintessentially modern phenomenon, enabled by the emergence of representative democracies, centralized bureaucracies and advanced biomedicine. While social, urban and religious historians have begun chipping away at the entrenched dichotomy between pre/modernity that this view implies, evidence for community prophylactics in earlier eras also emerges from a group of somewhat unexpected sources, namely military manuals. Texts composed for (and often by) army leaders in medieval Latin Europe, East Rome (Byzantium) and other premodern civilizations reflect the topicality of population-level preventative healthcare well before the nineteenth century, thereby broadening the path for historicizing public health from a transregional and even global perspective. Moreover, at least throughout the Mediterranean World, military manuals also attest the enduring appeal of Hippocratic and Galenic prophylactics and how that medical tradition continued for centuries to shape the routines and material culture of vulnerable communities such as armies. (Preprint version)

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Premodern Healthscaping in European Association for Urban History Conference 2018

Premodern Public Health: Comparing Cities 1250-1750

Thursday 30th August 2018
Room 22 09:00-10:30, 11:00-12:30

Address: Department of Business Studies – Roma Tre University, Via Silvio d’Amico 77 – 00145 Roma.

This session aims to bring together scholars engaged in research into public health strategies and interventions, and resilience thereto, in late medieval and early modern urban communities. This is a dynamic area of research, which is revealing the myriad of ways in which urban public health policies and practices aimed at creating healthier environments. In particular, a consideration of preventive rather than simply curative measures have revealed new spaces of medical practice, including streets, homes and workplaces alongside large civic healthcare institutions, as well as broader communities of practitioners. Until recently, medical and environmental history’s main focus steered towards post-plague epidemiology, the development of humoural theory, or hospital institutions offering physical and spiritual care. Social and medical historians, together with archaeologists, are, however, increasingly engaging in interdisciplinary research into preventative health measures directed at and/or implemented by an urban public.

Crossing geographical, disciplinary, and linguistic boundaries, this session aims to further increase understanding of how late medieval and early modern urban governments attempted to regulate urban public health through statutes and bye-laws, policed by officials and prosecuted by the judiciary, as well as responses thereto from industries, guilds, brotherhoods, communities and individuals. These dynamics of communication and contestation will be carefully situated within the built environments they helped to shape.

Programme:

09:00–10:30 The View from the Street: Leet Courts as Agents of Sanitary Policing in Late Medieval English Cities.

Carole Rawcliffe

Preserving and Building Healthy Urban Spaces: Solutions and Conflicts in Premodern Imperial Cities and Towns.

Annemarie Kinzelbach

Minds in the Gutter: Corruption in Late Medieval Valencia.

Abigail Agresta

Discussion
10:30-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-12:30 Health Matters: Defining the Bonum Commune in Conflicts in Late Medieval Italy and the Low Countries.

Claire Weeda

Learning from the Countryside: Field Masters (camparii) and Urban Healthscaping in Later Medieval Piedmont.

Guy Geltner

Pre-industrial Water Management in Flemish Metropoli: Drawing from Archaeological Water Facilities.

Roos van Oosten

Discussion

Coordinators: Janna Coomans (j.coomans@uva.nl), Jane Stevens Crawshaw (jane.stevens- crawshaw@brookes.ac.uk), Claire Weeda (c.v.weeda@hum.leidenuniv.nl)

You can find more information at EAUH Conference 2018.

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New Publication by Claire Weeda: ‘Reviewing Conduct Books: Galenic Medicine and the “Civilising Process” in Western European Households c.1100–1300’

C. Weeda, ‘Reviewing Conduct Books: Galenic Medicine and the “Civilising Process” in Western European Households c.1100–1300’, in Christopher M. Woolgar (ed.), The Elite Household in England, 1100-1550: Proceedings of the 2016 Harlaxton Symposium (Donington, 2018), 167-184.

Abstract: In western Europe conduct books offering advice to young students and aristocrats on how to behave in a social environment began to appear in the twelfth century. They played a substantial role in guiding and governing the behaviour of members of the elite and urban households and feature in historical discussions as an important accelerator of as well as testimony to the so-called civilising process in western European court society, structuring and disciplining the social behaviour of members of the body politic who were trying to gain access to power. However, as this chapter argues, an overlooked aspect of these fresh conduct manuals, which partly drew on the Latin Catonic tradition of teaching morals and manners to young students, was their concerns over health and hygiene. Engaging with the newly introduced medical theories in Graeco-Arabic texts translated in Spain, Sicily, southern Italy and Byzantium from the late eleventh century, clerics in the centres of learning such as Salerno, Paris or Bologna absorbed medical knowledge about healthy behaviour as part of the staple education, thereupon infusing it into manuals of conduct written for young men aspiring to be prudentes, good citizens. This chapter examines a number of these educational tracts from the twelfth- and early thirteenth-century and the presence of such arguments of health and hygiene in them, arguing they attest an understanding that health, hygiene and social status were intertwined.

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