Medieval Mothers: Reproductive Health in the Middle Ages
Session sponsored by the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS)
This session encourages scholars to place women’s health, and women’s degree of control over their bodies, at the center of their analyses of medieval social worlds. Since Monica Green’s 2001 edition of The Trotula and her 2008 publication of Making Women’s Medicine Masculine, studies of women in the Middle Ages have slowly begun to include reproductive health as an aspect, though not always a fundamental one, of women’s lives and thus as essential to feminist scholarship in medieval studies. This session seeks to generate a conversation about women’s reproductive health in the Middle Ages.
The idea for this session emerged from an SMFS online discussion of options for childcare and lactation for medievalist mothers attending the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo in May 2013. It is a companion session, thematically paired with a roundtable featuring medievalist mothers, that queries the manner in which women’s bodies continue to be othered and/or disembodied by traditional scholarly pursuits and formats for intellectual exchange. For this session, we seek papers adressing various aspects of women’s health in the Middle Ages, and we encourage multiple perspectives stemming from medical, legal, hagiographical, devotional, literary, diplomatic, and art historical sources. Our goal is to address the place of women’s health in understanding women’s lives and experiences in the Middle Ages.
Please send an abstract of no more than 350 words, and a Participant Information Form (http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/), to Sara Ritchey at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 1.