CFP: Epidemic Disease, Medieval Studies (K’zoo)

Medica: The Society for Healing in the Middle Ages, is seeking proposals for papers for two sessions to be held at the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan from May 12-15, 2016. The sessions are:

1) Epidemic Diseases: Medieval Witnesses
This session will seek to expand the historical understanding of the physical, political, economic, and cultural impact of epidemic diseases in the Middle Ages by ensuring critical examination not only of the Black Death, but also other prevalent epidemic disease, such as sweating sickness, smallpox, epidemic diseases in animals, etc. Papers that present research on epidemic disease in the Middle Ages that goes beyond the usual sources (Boccaccio), to make use of such sources as documentary accounts, chronicles, household and monastic texts and records, religious texts, literary texts, and artistic representations will be especially welcome. Interdisciplinary studies are also encouraged.

2) Epidemic Diseases in the Middle Ages: Twenty-first Century Understandings
Twenty-first century scientific research has opened new doors for understanding the expansive epidemiological concerns of medieval epidemic diseases.  For example, recent work in genetics, molecular microbiology, and archaeological research have offered new insight into the spread of Yersinia pestis on a global scale in history. Papers for this session would consider the numerous ways in which humanistic analysis (the work of historians and literary scholars) can seek to build upon and interpret the new scientific findings as we continue to consider the history of epidemic diseases.  This session also invites discussion of methodologies for applying modern scientific research, such as osteoarcheological and biomolecular investigations, to future lines of inquiry into the study of medieval medical history.

If interested, please submit an abstract of roughly 250-300 words along with a Participant Information Form (PIF), which can be found at http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#PIF. All proposal materials are due by September 15, 2015.

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