Religious and/or Medicinal definitions of Otherness
Religion and medicine were in many ways intertwined in the Middle Ages, both in explaining deviance, illness and impairment as well as in the healing practices. They are not anymore seen as competing but rather as supporting, even complementing each other. Both religion and medicine had their own ways of defining the undesirable, which could lead to the construction of ‘The Other’ – be it disability, mental disorder, or heterodoxy. Some features, like lunacy, leprosy, impotence, or infertility were in the nexus of both religious and medicinal explanations. Both religion and medicine could also offer methods for cure and ways to integrate the deviant persons back into a community. The interconnection of both concepts can be found, for example, in hagiography, sermons, medical treatises and herbals. These sessions aim to analyse healing as cultural practice; the focal questions are how religious and medicinal explanation intermingled in the construction of ‘the Other’ and in what ways they complemented or competed in explaining, categorizing and treating different spiritual, mental and bodily conditions. We aim at organizing a double session focusing on following questions:
· Role of medicine and/or religion in constructing the Other
· Role of medicine and/or religion in experiences of the patient
· Religion and medicine – rivalling, complementing or symbiotic?
· Treating the patient, curing the ailment – integration or permanent marginalization?
· Faith healing and placebo – synonyms, interconnection, anachronisms?
We encourage proposals sensitive to temporal and/or geographical changes focusing on various cultural levels and social contexts. Those interested in presenting a paper in this panel, please submit an abstract of roughly 250-300 words to the organisers by 23 September 2016.
Jenni Kuuliala firstname.lastname@example.org
Sari Katajala-Peltomaa email@example.com
Trivium, Tampere Centre for Classical, Medieval, and Early Modern Studies