October 5-6, 2018, Maison Française d’Oxford
Call for papers
Drag the pale victim from the whelming wave,
And snatch the body from the floating grave;
Breathe in the lips re-animating fire,
Till, warm’d to second life, the drown’d respire.
The emergence of societies ‘for the recovery of persons apparently drowned’ within Europe —Amsterdam 1767, Paris 1772, London 1774 — institutionalized a shift in the 18th century, whereby different groups in society became involved with a common concern. The act of resuscitation took on social as well as medical significance: medals were awarded to bystanders who leapt into rivers to save hapless swimmers; attendants were stationed at the edge of hazardous boating lakes; and a variety of life-saving tools were touted to a burgeoning consumer society. These endeavours drew upon broader understandings of breath, air, and the functions of bodies, and also held the potential for spiritual transformation by making bodily ‘resurrection’ a real possibility.
Coinciding with the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), this workshop seeks to explore the social, cultural, political, and medical aspects of reanimation and resuscitation from the early modern period to the present. We will consider how these phenomena have been understood – as miraculous moments, displays of medical prowess, and manifestations of civic responsibility. We will ask if they represent a profound shift regarding ideas about the origin of life as well as its value, connected to the development of a society of risk management. We will also explore how these practices have developed through time in literary, popular, and medical narratives, as new technologies both ‘medicalised’ resuscitation and extended its practice beyond the medical arena. In this way, we hope to gain insight not only into the development and dissemination of medical knowledge but also into broader cultural issues – citizenship, duty, and changing perceptions of what it means to be human.
We ask participants to submit proposals for papers of 20 minutes in length, covering any aspect of reanimation or resuscitation from the early modern period onwards. Possible themes or topics might include:
- How these practices affected contemporary attitudes towards life and death
- Resuscitation/reanimation and the uncanny body
- Resuscitation/reanimation as a spiritual experience
- Literary depictions of resuscitation/reanimation
- Resuscitation technologies, from bellows to electrical stimulation of the heart
- The use of humans and animals in the development of resuscitation techniques
- The role of the bystander and notions of civic responsibility
- First Aid training and the spread of medical knowledge and practices
- Risky locations – from lakes and rivers to the emergency room
Please submit a title, abstract of up to 250 words, and brief biography, to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday 1 July 2018.
Resuscitation, Reanimation, and the Modern World is organised by Dr Marie Thébaud-Sorger (CNRS/Maison Française d’Oxford) and Dr Jennifer Wallis (QMUL). The workshop is free. We are currently seeking funding that we hope will contribute towards travel and accommodation costs for early career researchers and unfunded scholars.
Deadline: July 1, 2018
Posted: April 16, 2018