Friday, August 23, 2019

CFP for Medica sessions at ICMS in Kalamazoo 2020

Medica is seeking paper proposals for two sessions to be held at the 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies, which will be held in Kalamazoo, Michigan from May 7-10, 2020.

1) Healing and the Healer in Medieval Popular Culture 
DESCRIPTION: This session seeks to explore the perceptions and understandings of health maintenance, disease prevention and treatment, medical practitioners, etc., in the practices of healers outside the university sphere in the Middle Ages. The practices of women healers, religious-based healers, practitioners of folk medicine, healing saints, and other empirically-trained doctors would be ideal topics of analysis for this session. Possible papers could examine sources like household recipe books, legal regulations of medical practice, depictions of healing in popular literature, artistic representations of healers, or similar sources.

2) Desire and Disease: The Medicalization of Sex in the Middle Ages 
DESCRIPTION: This session is open to investigations of sexuality and medicine in the Middle Ages. This might include papers on sexually transmitted diseases, sexual dysfunction, methods to increase/inhibit sexual desire, or treatments to test for or enhance fertility. Other topics could include perceptions of how emotions of desire might affect an individual’s health, or concerns for how the body shapes desire in various ways. 

If interested, please submit an abstract of roughly 250-300 words along with a Participant Information Form (PIF), which can be found at Any graduate student who has a paper accepted will be eligible to apply for Medica's Travel Award of $100 to help expenses. All proposal materials are due by September 15, 2019. If you have questions about either of the sessions, or would like to submit an abstract, please direct emails to Harry York at

Medica is also organizing a roundtable on teaching the history of medicine in the Middle Ages: New Ways to Teach Medieval Medicine
DESCRIPTION:  This roundtable brings together scholars who will explore new tools and methods for teaching medieval medicine. The tools and ideas presented here are intended for anyone who might wish to include a module on health and disease in a broader course on the Middle Ages, not only for those seeking to teach courses focused on medieval medicine. Some speakers will examine various new digital technologies available for use in classroom settings. Others will consider the ways in which the history of medicine might be taught in the broader context of the global Middle Ages.

Finally, we are also co-sponsoring a session with Beneventan Studies:

TITLE: Medieval Interdisciplinarity: Knowledge-Transfer in Medieval Southern Italy II: Medicine and Sciences
DESCRIPTION: The importance of Montecassino and the Beneventan Zone in the history of the transmission of the classics for the trivium has long been recognized. Only recently has the pivotal role of the Zone for the history of the collection, translation, transmission and dissemination of scientific works come to the fore. The two sessions build on new/forthcoming publications on key Southern Italian manuscript witnesses of this transfer asks how knowledge transfer (particular of works of the quadrivium and medical sciences) occurred (into, within, and from the Zone), and what was the relationship between innovative learning across the sciences. Session II focuses new scholarship on medical and scientific learning.

For more information about this session, or to submit a proposal, please contact Andrew J. M. Irving at

Monday, April 15, 2019

Medica is pleased to sponsor two sessions at the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan (May 9-12, 2019)

Leprosy in the City: Medical, Charitable, and Regulatory Responses to Leprosy in the Middle Ages
Thursday, May 9 at 1:30pm in Schneider 1120

Chiara Giancoli, “Medical, Charitable, and Regulatory Responses to Leprosy in Two of the Catholic Homilies by Ælfric of Eynsham”

Rebecca Hall, “The Impact of Cross Religious Contact on Leprosy Sufferers in the Crusader Kingdoms”

Anna M. Peterson, “‘Let these institutions be governed by prudent suitable men of good repute’: Leprosaria and Accountability in the Medieval West (ca. 1200–1342)

Aleksandra N. Pfau, “Lepers in the Streets: Movement of Lepers in Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-Century France”

Women Healers in Medieval Family and Community Life
Thursday, May 9 at 3:30pm in Schneider 1160

Ruth Dwyer, “Theodora and the Mystery of Justinian’s Cure, Solved

Nichola Harris, “Hildegard’s Heterodoxy: Sources and the Application of Lapidary Knowledge in Physica “

The Medica Business Meeting will be held on Thursday, May 9, from 12:00-12:45 in Bernhard 157/158. Bring lunch and help plan future sessions.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CFP for Kalamazoo, May 9-12, 2019

Medica will be sponsoring two sessions at the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, which will be held in Kalamazoo, Michigan from May 9-12, 2019. 

1) Leprosy in the City: Medical, Charitable, and Regulatory Responses to Leprosy in the Middle Ages
This session invites papers that explore the multifaceted approaches and responses to leprosy and leprosy sufferers in the Middle Ages. Leprosy occupied a unique place in the medieval world and was simultaneously viewed and understood in medical, legal, social, and religious terms. Papers in this session could explore different types of approaches or responses to the disease including those of learned medical practitioners, local healers, religious figures, and the cities themselves. Papers that consider questions about medical treatments, institutions, or other related topics concerning medieval leprosy are also welcomed. 

2) Women Healers in Medieval Family and Community Life
Both historical and fictional, textual and artistic representations portray medieval women performing a customary domestic responsibility, treating illness and injury among their family and neighbors. This session seeks papers that enlarge typical characterizations by offering insight into the contributions and practices of female healers as they functioned in the day-day reality of medieval life. Not limited to midwifery, the health care activities of medieval laywomen, noblewomen, and religious women included surgery and bloodletting, therapeutic treatments, herbalism, practical nursing, and disposal of the dead. Paper proposals are invited that examine training, treatments, historical records, legal status, and individual figures, both professional and non-professional. In addition, papers are encouraged to examine the textual and empirical sources of information employed by medieval female healers, such as botanicals, late medieval self-help texts, medical texts and teaching manuals, traditional home recipe texts, native intelligence, and apprenticeships. As in the past, Medica encourages interdisciplinary perspectives that explore medieval female health care providers across the cultural spectrum of history, literature, and art.

If interested, please submit an abstract of roughly 250-300 words along with a Participant Information Form (PIF), which can be found at All proposal materials are due by September 15, 2017.

If you have questions about either of the sessions, or would like to submit an abstract, please direct emails to Harry York at

Monday, March 19, 2018

Medica at Kalamazoo, 10-13 May 2018

Medica is pleased to announce the two sessions we will be hosting at Kalamazoo this year.

Medicine in Cities: Public Health and Medical Professions
Friday, May 11, 1:30–3:00 p.m.
267 BERNHARD 212

Abigail Agresta, "Minds in the Gutter: Plague, Sin, and Blame in Late Medieval Valencia"

Courtney A. Krolikoski, "Leprosy and Society in Medieval Bologna, 1100–1350"

Matteo Pace, "“Per Modum Radicis”: Cultural Webs between Physicians and Poets in Duecento Bologna"

Petros Bouras-Vallianatos, "Pharmacy and Health Care in Late Byzantine Constantinople"

Military Medicine: Wounds and Disease in Warfare
Friday, May 11, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
324 BERNHARD 212

Theodore Cunningham, "Early Use of Medical Triage in the Saga of Saint Olaf"

Leigh Whaley, "Controversial Wound Treatment by Three Medieval Surgeons: Hugh of Lucca, Theodoric of Cervia, and Henry of Mondeville"

Nicole Archambeau, "Plague and Great Company of 1361"

Medica Reception!
Friday, May 11, 5:15 p.m., BERNHARD 212

All are welcome! Reception with cash bar.

Medica Business Meeting

Thursday, May 12, 12:00-12:45, BERNHARD 215

All are welcome! We will be planning future sessions for Medica. Bring your lunch and join the discussion!

See you all in Kalamazoo! 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Medica at Kalamazoo 2017

Medica once again has a full schedule of events at Kalamazoo. We have two sponsored sessions and another session that we are co-sponsoring. Here is the schedule:

Session 41: Thursday, May 11 at 10:00 in Sangren 1710 
Medieval Tools (A Roundtable) 

Sponsor: AVISTA: The Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Medieval Technology, Science, and Art; DISTAFF (Discussion, Interpretation, and Study of Textile Arts, Fabrics, and Fashion); EXARC; Medica: The Society for the Study of Healing in the Middle Ages; Research Group on Manuscript Evidence; Societas Magica

Organizer: Sarah Thompson, Rochester Institute of Technology

Presider: Sean M. Winslow, Univ. of Toronto

A roundtable discussion with Constance H. Berman, Univ. of Iowa; Carla Tilghman, Washburn Univ.; Frank Klaassen, Univ. of Saskatchewan; Linda Ehrsam Voigts, Univ. of Missouri–Kansas City; and Darrell Markewitz, Wareham Forge. 

Linda Voigts is representing Medica and will be speaking about "Equipment for Household Distillation for Medical (and other?) Uses"

Session 501: Sunday, May 14 at 8:30 in Fetzer 1010 

The Practical Medicine of Medieval Surgeons and Physicians

Presider: William H. York, Portland State University

Beth Petitjean, St. Louis Univ., "Mineral Water Treatments in Late Medieval Italy"

Kira L. Robison, Univ. of Tennessee–Chattanooga, "The Propriety of Practical Medicine"

Helga Ruppe, Western Univ., "Hildegard’s Healing Landscape"

Session 540: Sunday, May 14 at 10:30 in Fetzer 1010

Materia Medica: Plants, Animals, and Minerals in Healing 

Presider: Linda Ehrsam Voigts, Univ. of Missouri–Kansas City 

Claire Burridge, Univ. of Cambridge, "Origins and Ingredients: A Comparison of Early Medieval Remedies"

Arsenio Ferraces-Rodríguez, Univ. da Coruña, "The Use of the Mandrake in the Early Middle Ages for the Gout, for the Conception, and as an Anesthetic"

In addition to our sessions we will also be holding our annual business meeting and hosting a reception, both of which all are welcome (encouraged!) to attend. 

Business Meeting: Thursday, May 11 at noon in Bernhard 213

Reception with cash bar: Friday, May 12 at 5:15 in Fetzer 2030

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

CFP for sessions at Kalamazoo in 2017

Medica is seeking proposals for our two sessions exploring the material culture of healing at the upcoming meeting of the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan from May 11-14, 2017.

We are also seeking a participant for a roundtable session on “Medieval Tools,” which will be co-sponsored AVISTA (The Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art), DISTAFF (Discussion, Interpretation, and Study of Textile Arts, Fabrics, and Fashion), Societas Magica, The Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, and EXARC.

The paper sessions are:

1)  Materia Medica: Plants, Animals, and Minerals in Healing
This session invites papers that investigate how medieval healers employed a wide range of materials drawn from plants, animals, and minerals to treat their patients. Papers can examine medieval manuals of herbal medicine to learn about herbal cures and dietary prescriptions in practice and theory. Papers can also examine bestiaries or hunting manuals for insight into the medicinal value of animal parts. In addition to examining the specific materials used in cures, papers might consider the production and sale of medicinal remedies. This opens the opportunity to explore subjects like the development of monastic herbal gardens, the trade routes by which medicinal materials reached their market, and the regulation of apothecary shops. The aim of the session is to bring together scholars considering the theory behind developing medicinal cures as well as the material culture that shapes those cures.

2) Surgeons and Their Tools
This session seeks papers that examine the theory and practice of medieval surgery. This could include looking at the training of craft surgeons and/or the development of surgery curricula at university medical school. Papers that examine specific surgical techniques, the application of surgery to treat specific conditions, or the tools used by surgeons, are of special interest. As with the session on "materia medica" this session also encourages papers that examine the material culture of medieval surgical practice as witnessed from textual and artistic perspectives.

Roundtable: Medieval Tools
This roundtable session provides an opportunity for short presentations, demonstration, and discussion of medieval tools and technology from various realms, including artistic production, agricultural labor, construction, shipbuilding, and household use. Medica seeks a participant who could contribute to the roundtable with a discussion of the use of tools in medical settings, or for the purposes of personal health or hygiene. The organizers are encouraging participants to bring illustrations and/or replicas of tools, although this is not required.

Though not required, an applicant for the roundtable would also be welcome to submit a paper proposal to one of the paper sessions

I would suggest for any Medica members who are also MEDMED-L readers that this roundtable could allow a speaker to follow up on the recent queries concerning “ancient bottom wipers,” or the Roman latrine stick/sponge and its use for personal hygiene.

If interested in presenting for either of the paper sessions and/or the roundtable, please submit an abstract of roughly 250-300 words along with a Participant Information Form (PIF), which can be found at All proposal materials are due by September 15, 2016.

If you have questions about either of the sessions, or would like to submit an abstract, please direct emails to Harry York at

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Medica's 2016 Schedule at Kalamazoo

International Congress on Medieval Studies, 12-15 May 2016
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Thursday, May 12
noon, Bernhard 211-- Medica Business Meeting
open to members and non-members

Friday, May 13
1:30 p.m., Schneider 1130
Session #243 Epidemic Diseases: Medieval Witnesses

Presider: William H. York, Portland State University

The Disappearing Leper and Clandestine Christ: Understanding a Theological Topos in Bonaventure’s Life of Saint Francis of Assisi
             Mark M. Lambert, University of Chicago
Diagnosis of Plague in Gui de Chauliac’s Chirurgia Magna
             Meagan S. Allen, Indiana University, Bloomington
Bone, Stone and Text: Jewish Responses to the Black Death
             Susan L. Einbinder, University of Connecticut

3:30 p.m., Schneider 1130
Session #297 Epidemic Diseases in the Middle Ages: 
Twenty-First Century Understandings
Presider: Monica H. Green, Arizona State University

Plague Diffusion within and out of Europe’s Uplands
             Ann G. Carmichael, Indiana University, Bloomington, Emerita
Is that Plague Image Really an Image of the Plague? Tackling the Digital Disconnect between Medieval Witnesses and Twenty-First Century Understandings of Epidemic Diseases in the Middle Ages
             Lori Jones, University of Ottawa
The Rise and Fall of a Historical Plague Focus: The Case of Ottoman Anatolia
             Nükhet Varlik, Rutgers University, Newark

5:15 p.m., Fetzer 1060 -- Medica Reception with cash bar