Disability and religion: call for papers

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By | Early Medicine, Events and Visits

This three-day conference marks the 10th Anniversary Annual Meeting on ‘Disease, disability and medicine in medieval Europe’. It will be hosted by Swansea University at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, 2–4 December 2016. The conference aims to explore the interactions between disability and medicine in the Middle Ages by bringing together established scholars and postgraduates, international discourses and theoretical approaches from across a wide range of the humanities and sciences.

St Elizabeth of Hungary with disabled man.

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Coloured engraving by W. Langhammer (In Hohenelbe [Vrchlabí, Bohemia]: Bei Wenzel Lanhammer [i.e. Langhammer], [between 1700 and 1799]). Iconographic no. 4824i. Wellcome Images V0031922.

Paper proposals on ‘Disability and religion’ are invited on, but certainly not limited to, the following topics:

• Medieval disability and the ‘religious model’ of disability
• Disability and charity
• Medieval theological concepts of disability
• Canon law and disability
• Interstices of law and medicine in the Middle Ages
• Religion versus science/medicine?
• Devotion, piety and religiosity and voluntary disability
• Disability as form of religious expression
• Corporality and disembodied disability
• Disability between conflicting notions of physical and spiritual health
• Disability and the afterlife

Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 20 to 30 minute paper, together with a brief biography, to by 1 October 2016. If you have any queries please contact Dr Irina Metzler at the same email address.

Attendance at the conference will be free to all participants but numbers are limited to 50 attendees.

Accessibility information: The conference will take place on the first floor of the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, which has wheelchair accessible lifts. The lecture theatres are wheelchair accessible and special dietary requirements can be catered for.


Dr Irina Metzler holds a a Wellcome Trust University Award at Swansea University. Her research focuses on physical, sensory and intellectual disability in the medieval world. Her publications include Fools and idiots? Intellectual disability in the Middle Ages (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016).

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