CFP: Joint Atlantic Seminar for the History of Medicine 2015

October 16-17, 2015, University of Pennsylvania

Call for papers

The University of Pennsylvania is pleased to host the 13th Joint Atlantic Seminar for the History of Medicine on October 16 – 17, 2015 in Philadelphia. JAS Med is convened annually for the presentation of research by young scholars working on the history of medicine and public health. The meeting was founded in 2002 to foster a collegial intellectual community that provides a forum for sharing and critiquing graduate student research.

They welcome student presentations on any topic and time period and especially hope to receive submissions that speak to this year’s theme of Materiality Medica. Conceived broadly, this theme directs our attention to the physicality of bodies and the implements, practical ministrations, and drugs involved in their care. Analytic focus on materiality also invites consideration of the practical ways that non-human actors, including the built/natural environment and animals and other living organisms, have had a crucial bearing on population and personal health.

Materials in the history of medicine provide both methodological challenges and opportunities as objects that resist translation into abstract discourse but may also provide unique clues into elusive domains of historical experience.  What resources, for instance, do the objects preserved in historical collections—such as old surgical tools, anatomical specimens, or personal hygiene goods provide to the historian accustomed to working with textual documentation?  How do we do narrative justice to the physical messiness of bodies that develop burning fevers, inexplicable twinges, or experience suffering and pain?

Other topics encompassed by this theme include but are by no means limited to:

  • Trans-regional commodity chains that link objects and people in disparate settings
  • Affective responses to intimate body work and the manual labor of care
  • Practices and tools that translate between abstract and embodied ways of knowing
  • Spaces and infrastructures of clinical care
  • The inscription of social and racial difference in material conditions of health

Submissions are welcome from a wide range of scholarly disciplines.  Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and clearly convey the argument, sources, and relationship to existing literature of the paper to be presented. Please submit no later than May 25, 2015 at

Deadline: June 8, 2015

Posted: April 10, 2015