CFP: Court Medicine: Healthcare Personnel and Sanitary Politics in European Courts, late 15c-18c
|Call for Papers Date:||2011-09-30|
Objectives of the meeting:
Court medical practitioners changed in numbers, occupations and functions during the Renaissance and early modern period (15c-18c) practitioners focused on different specialities within body-care, and took on different roles in the government of Europe’s states. Building on recent work that has concentrated on the history of body care at courts, this workshop will explores changes in court medical politics, practices and practitioners and the consequences they had for, firstly, medical thought, regulation and practice and, secondly, the activities, management and evolution of early modern states.
The workshop will focus on:
Papers are invited that explore one or more of these themes in Europe’s courts. We welcome proposals that are comparative, as well as detailed studies of particular cases. Proposed title, abstract (c. 500 words) will be sent to the organizers, as well as the affiliation of the speaker.
Deadline for paper proposals: September 30, 2011.
Dates and location:
Christelle Rabier, Department of Economic History, The London School of Economics
Patrick Wallis, Department of Economic History, The London School of Economics
Institut universitaire de France
Building on historiographies that have independently studied medical courtiers through the lenses of medical science or courtly practices, the workshop intends to offer fresh perspectives on the intersection of medicine and politics. In this regard, medicine can rightly be considered as an instrument of power, whose dimensions were reconfigured thanks to its closeness to power. By delegating some regulatory and supervisory powers to medical occupational bodies, authorities included them in the process of political legitimacy. This in turn had consequences for the fashioning of medical identities and their organization of knowledge and action. Not only did the courts supply serving practitioners with gratuities and salaried positions, they gave them a higher status and often some authority, including scrutiny over policies and regulations in healthcare. As a result, the States obtained tools for reducing sanitary risks and improving the civil populations’ healthcare management. Among other examples, court medical practitioners contributed to the assessment of therapeutic innovations, debates on poverty, distribution of medicines, price fixing for drugs and medical services, preventive administration during epidemics, military medical care, and the development of legal medicine. The parallel with court prelates is striking: religion not only served as an instrument of state control, but was instrumental to the shaping of Counter-Reformation Europe politics, through the various functions served by courtier ministers of the church. Thirty years ago, Foucault argued for the close connection of medicine and politics. By focusing on the actual core location of power and politics in an earlier period, the workshop aims to interrogate the periodization offered by the French philosopher, and place medicine within the larger history of the construction of modern states.
The workshop will explore a crucial period in the history of European courts, from the late fifteenth to the eighteenth century. This was also a foundational period in the history of sanitary politics, from the management of epidemics in the Mediterranean to the poor laws in Northern Europe. Scholars working on different European courts can thus offer a comparative perspective on the courtly places of power, in contrast with state and urban administrations, and the tensions between medical knowledge and sanitary power.
Topics covered by the workshop will include:
The London School of Economics
London WC2A 2AE