Beyond Leeches and Lepers: Medieval and Early Modern Medicine Conference.

Event Date: 
02 May 2015

Beyond Leeches and Lepers: Medieval and Early Modern Medicine Conference.

Anatomy Lecture Theatre, The University of Edinburgh.

Saturday 2nd May, 2015.

Call for Papers

This is a one-day public engagement conference for postgraduate students and early career researchers. We are excited to announce that Dr. Irina Metzler has been confirmed as the keynote speaker.

There are many misconceptions about the quality of health care in the medieval and early-modern periods. Even Blackadder II, set in the sixteenth century, popularises the idea that early-modern medical practices were both limited and ineffective:

Edmund: I’ve never had anything you doctors didn’t try to cure with leeches. A leech on my ear for ear ache, a leech on my bottom for constipation.
Doctor: They’re marvellous, aren’t they?
Edmund: Well, the bottom one wasn’t. I just sat there and squashed it.

“Beyond Leeches and Lepers” refers to the intention of this conference to look beyond a simplistic coverage of these subjects that are commonly associated with medieval and early-modern medicine, and to explore this area of history more broadly and in greater detail. As a public engagement conference, this is an opportunity for postgraduate students and early career researchers to develop their ability to communicate their research and ideas to the public. This will allow scholars to impart our current understanding of medieval and early-modern medicine, and the public to engage with this subject and address their preconceptions. The conference is to be held in the historic Anatomy Lecture Theatre in the Old Medical Building at the University of Edinburgh. This historically notable space will help to emphasise the seminal importance of medicine in the medieval and early-modern periods inside the long history of medicine.

Possible topics for exploration include:

  • anatomy and dissection;
  • plagues,
  •  pandemics and diseases;
  • disability and impairment;
  • hospitals and healthcare;
  • surgery, physicians and medical manuscripts;
  • bloodletting, and the bodily humors. 

 

Papers should be prepared with a non-expert audience in mind.

Please send proposals up to 250 words for 15-20 minutes papers to Helen F. Smith and Jessica Legacy at beyondleechesconference@outlook.com by January 15th, 2015.​

Submission date for papers: 
15 Jan 2015