The history of medieval medicine has somewhat neglected the position of the animal in studying the health landscape of what was effectively a multi-species society which relied on animals for food, commerce and agriculture. Animals were critical to the success of medieval society and their health was of significant concern. Medieval people lived in close quarters with their animals and the interaction of animals and humans had significant implications for the health of both groups, including famine and plague.
I am organising a session around the broad topic of ‘The Animal Turn in Medieval Health Studies’, which is seeking collaborators working in any area which touches on the intersection of animals and health. This might include the study of veterinary and medical texts, food and nutrition, magical and religious healing of animals, epizootic/epidemics, ‘healthscaping’, agriculture, animal-focused industries (such as tanning), ecocriticism, dis/ability theory and occupational health.
This session will explore the position of the animal within the wider landscape of medieval health studies. Papers might deal with the animal as patient, as foodstuff or as pharmaceutical, the animal as vector for disease or cause of human illness (poison, venom, public health concern etc.), the health implications of animal management and sale or any topic which deals with the animal as a component of human health, or the animal as the subject of health-related study.
This session hopes to encourage an interdisciplinary discussion and as such papers will be welcomed from researchers working not just in philology, scientific and medical history, but also ecocriticism, literary studies, bioarchaeology, zooarchaeology and material culture, veterinary and biomedical science, art history, food science and nutrition. Papers from any medieval geographical area and chronological range will be welcomed.
Please send a paper title and 200-300 word abstract to Sunny Harrison at the Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday 11th September 2015.
The International Medieval Congress will be hosted at the University of Leeds, 3–7 July, 2016. The IMC offers ‘an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of all aspects of Medieval Studies. Papers and sessions on any topic related to the European Middle Ages are welcome’. For more information, please see the IMC website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/125137/international_medieval_congress.