Calls for Papers: Materia Medica on the Move II

Materia medica on the move II

Contextualizing drug components as collectables, commodities, and cultural markers in the
early modern period

Amsterdam, October 4-6, 2017

After the successful Materia medica on the move conference in 2015, Utrecht University Descartes Centre, Huygens/ING, and Naturalis Biodiversity Centre will host a three-day follow-up conference, again devoted to the circulation of knowledge regarding non-native natural substances that were used in medicine in the early modern period (1500-1800). The conference will take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from 4 till 6 October 2017.

Goal of the conference

In recent years the history of non-native natural substances, to which therapeutic properties were attributed, has received substantial attention from scholars in a range of disciplines. The various contexts and perspectives from which these substances can be studied (e.g. medicinal, scientific, socio-cultural, ethnobotanical, artistic) have led to much cross-disciplinary research by historians of science, pharmacists, ethnobotanists, and the like. The conference intends to provide a platform for these researchers, to provide an overview of current research, and to exchange insights and ideas about the knowledge, trade, and acculturation of drug components in the past.

Keynote speakers

Matthew Crawford (Kent State University)

Patrick Wallis (The London School of Economics and Political Science)

Pratik Chakrabarti (University of Manchester)

Valentina Pugliano (University of Cambridge)

Paper submissions

We invite early and mid-career researchers to submit their work in progress, to be discussed in thematic parallel sessions. Themes to be addressed include, but are not limited to:

  • Hybridity in use: The ways in which materia medica have transgressed the boundaries of medical applicability, and how these use categories were culturally defined.
  • Agency of objects: How inherent natural characteristics of substances, and cultural identities acquired in the global circulation process, have shaped and transformed the meaning of materia medica.
  • Collections and collectors: How collections of materia medica, collected drawings of materia medica, herbaria and the like reflect the ideas and visions of the collectors.
  • Commodification: The processes that turned materia medica into consumer products, making them recognizable and knowledgeable for a large audience; and the people and places associated with these processes.
  • Identity formation: The ways in which medicinal natural substances, and knowledge about them, has shaped social and cultural identities across European and non-European cultures.
  • Knowledge and power: The mechanisms that have been used to create and maintain positions of power (often associated with “empire”) based on new knowledge and goods in the domain of materia medica.

Although most of the historical evidence and modern research relates to plants, we encourage presentations that focus on mineral and animal drug components. We also encourage presentations that are based on surprising new types of sources for this field of research.

Selected authors will be given the opportunity to publish their work in a special journal issue.

Organization and contact

Abstracts (for 15 minute presentations) should contain the name of the speaker, full contact address (including email address), the title and a summary of the paper of no more than 400 words. Abstracts should be sent to Peter van den Hooff ( before June 19, 2017.

The conference fee is €100,=. Please be aware that this fee does not include accommodation. MA-students may apply for a reduced conference fee of €60,=. Registration will open in April.

Calls for Papers: Marketplace, Power, Prestige: The Healthcare Professions’ Struggle for Recognition

Marketplace, Power, Prestige: The Healthcare Professions’ Struggle for Recognition Developments, Conflicts, and Areas of Tension among Healthcare Professions in the Twentieth Century

The differentiation of non-physician healthcare professions that occurred at the same time as the specialisation of medicine and the development of medical technology gained momentum at the end of the nineteenth century. At this point, the academically educated doctors had already ousted their less-qualified competitors, such as traditional surgeons (Wundärzte or Handwerkschirurgen), from the medical marketplace. This development put doctors in a position, from which they had since secured great influence in the state accreditation process of new or newly regulated healthcare professions: a status that they still possess today. According to the German Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz), for example, the state medical associations (Landesärztekammern) are responsible for education and training of medical professionals.

As widely known, the medical care of the population is currently facing issues in a number of areas. Therefore, it is in the interest of the state and society to allow alternatives to the care by physicians. Especially in recent years, the delegation of doctors’ tasks to other healthcare professions has been discussed. Already in 2010, the Cooperative State University (Duale Hochschule) in Karlsruhe established a bachelor degree as physician assistants (Arztassistent). Examples for this endeavour are corresponding job profiles, which partly exist in other countries since decades. In this context, the professionalization or academisation of nursing plays an increasingly important role. One current example for this development represents the model course ‘Evidence Based Nursing’ at the Medical Faculty of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, established in 2016. The shift of competency and agency, however, led and leads into a number of problems as well. Therefore, the main focus of the conference will be the conflicts and areas of tensions, which accompanied the development or differentiation of the healthcare professions.

For example, the reasons and topics will be discussed because of which conflicts among medical professions occurred. Which parties were involved, which coalitions were established, how did the parties present themselves, and for what aims did they campaign for? Of particular concern will be the question, to what extent contributed such disputes to the shift on the suppliers’ side in the medical marketplace and what consequences had this development on the demanders’ side.

The key questions can be discussed on three levels and with retrospective considerations of the pre-modern period (monopolisation, professionalization).

1. Conflicts and Areas of Tensions Within one Healthcare Profession

On the first level of investigation, the negotiation process within one healthcare profession will be analysed. Within nursing, topics such as the conflicts between men and women, migrants and natives, or also between academic and non-academic people would be possible. Within the doctors’ profession, the main questions would be the conflicts between medical specialist and general practitioners, hospital and private doctors, or also between conventional and complementary or alternative medical practitioners.

2. Conflicts and Areas of Tensions Between Different Healthcare Professions

The second level puts the lines of conflict and tension between the different healthcare professions at the core of the investigation. Which occupational groups exercised influence on the development of adjacent occupations? For this level, it would be possible to analyse the disputes between conventional and alternative practitioners, doctors and osteopaths, psychiatrists and psychologists, gynaecologists and midwives, doctors and nurses, or doctors and psychotherapists.

3. Transnational Perspectives

The transnational perspective describes the comparison of the developments in Germany with other European countries. The question is how the different structural organisation of medical care impacted the development of healthcare professions? A comparison between centralist and federalist or capitalist and socialist systems would be of particular interest to the third level.

Presentations, Discussion, and Reimbursements

A slot of 45 minutes will be given to every presenter, in which a maximum of 20 minutes should be used for the paper and 25 minutes will be reserved for discussion. The spoken language at the conference will be English. The participation at the conference will be funded by the Institute for History of Medicine of the Robert Bosch Foundation, which includes the costs of accommodation, conference meals, and 2nd class train tickets for traveling to and from Stuttgart (only in exceptional cases, cheap flights will be reimbursed as well). Unfortunately, the costs incurred when traveling by car cannot be reimbursed.

Registration To participate at the conference, please apply with an abstract of 400 words maximum, which includes title, research question, methods, and used sources as well as possible hypothesis and results, until 30 June 2017 via post or email to Dr Pierre Pfütsch and Dr Sylvelyn Hähner-Rombach, Institut für Geschichte der Medizin der Robert Bosch Stiftung, Straußweg 17, 70184 Stuttgart, Germany, or and

Calls for Papers: Network of Health and Environment

Network of Health and Environment of the European Social Science History Association Conference (ESSHC), at Belfast, 4-7 April 2018


Proposals are invited for panels, individual papers or sessions on any subject dealing with the social history of health and/or of the environment.

ESEH is trying to expand its range of approaches and methods, so proposals using innovative formats are very welcome. The following types of applications are encouraged:

  1. Traditional panels consisting of four contributors and one chair and discussant. We particularly encourage sessions organised around a central theme with a comparative approach, bringing together contributions on different regions and/or time periods. We reserve the right to re-arrange panels and contributors if necessary in view of incoming applications. Panel chairs can also act as discussants. Discussants have an important role in stimulating discussions, which should take up a substantial part of the panel time. They can identify central issues of the papers, point to similarities and differences, raise individual or general questions or otherwise broaden the perspective on the overall themes of the panels.
  2. Individual papers. Individual papers are welcome, and accepted papers will be arranged into coherent sessions as far as possible. However, pre-organized panels have a substantially higher chance of being accepted.
  3. Meet the Author sessions, organized around a recent and important book, discussed by several scholars. While the author should be able to respond, it must become clear in the proposal that such sessions should provide the opportunity for critical debate about seminal and/controversial books and their theses (instead of being marketing events for a book.)
  4. Round table discussions in which several experts discuss one central topic.
  5. Other, e.g. the presentation and discussion of a film, a new evolving project, or some “crazy format” which we have not yet thought of.

Regardless of form, all proposals must involve contributors at least from different institutions but generally from different countries and must include a section of interaction with the audience. Papers are to  be presented rather than read.

Proposals on topics from the entire range of environmental history and of the history of medicine and health are welcome. The following themes and approaches are particularly encouraged:

  • Interactions between the global, the regional and the local;
  • Connections between the past and the present;
  • Interdisciplinary approaches; please, contact the chairs of other networks;
  • Tensions between conflicting constructions of reality;
  • Themes highlighting the dynamics of decisions made with incomplete information;
  • Themes exploring policy repercussions across periods and regions.

The deadline is May 1, 2017, but early submissions are strongly encouraged

Visit for:

  • General information on the conference
  • The organising institution
  • Registration (including paper proposal procedures)

For questions, suggestions etc., please write to:

Iris Borowy:, College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai University and/or Enrique Perdiguero-Gil:, History of Science, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (Alicante, España)


Calls for Papers: Taking Back Health: Health Tomorrow, Vol.5

Submission Deadline: May 30th, 2017

The fifth volume of Health Tomorrow: Interdisciplinarity and Internationality (HTII) explores the themes of anti-colonialism, decolonization, anti-racism, white supremacy, and the hegemony of the Global North to reveal broader conceptualizations of health and health determinants.

HTII seeks to gather original research and book reviews that question dominant health discourses by critically analyzing oppressive colonial processes and their  destructive legacies— legacies that continue to affect the health of individuals and communities.

Critical inquiries disrupt dominant understandings of health—dislodging approaches to healthcare from their epistemological, economic, institutional, demographic, and political centres. Often, this work is accomplished by making explicit the intersection of individual experiences, identities, and systems, as well as structures that interact simultaneously and on multiple levels.

Such critiques expose how health inequities and systemic injustices are embedded in conventional biomedical approaches, pathologies, and eurocentric conceptions of health and health services.

By mapping instances of health inequities and injustices onto broader socio-political territories, we can better understand the expression and interaction of multiple forms of oppression and discrimination. Critical investigations in this area have opened  up spaces for challenging dominant health discourses.

Resisting these discourses also means decentering conventional health narratives,  promoting emancipatory worldviews, and fostering more positive and contextualized health practices. Through destabilization, notions of health can become more dynamically responsive to context, power, privilege, and social location.

Possible areas and topics may include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Anti-colonial scholarship on health: Highlighting the imperialist role of the Global North in shaping notions of health (e.g., neoliberatlization of health services).
  • Decolonizing scholarship on health: Indigenous work to decolonize settler states (e.g. the decolonization of body, mind and spirit; Indigenous approaches to health; strategies for decolonizing health and medicine)
  • Critical race approaches to health: Black feminist scholarly traditions and approaches from the Global South (e.g. intersectional approaches to health; racism and anti-Black racism in medical research and practice;  anti-racism work in health service delivery and distribution; the relationship between Western medicine and non-Western medicine; integration as well as resistance to Western medicine)
  • Critical disability approaches to health: Perspectives that dismantle the ableist policies, assumptions and practices that marginalize or disadvantage different abilities (e.g., sociologies of impairment that shed light on the effects of colonialism)
  • Historical or long-term perspectives on health: Colonial or racist influence on beauty and ‘body shaming’ (e.g. racist cosmetic interventions, gender-confirmation surgeries and practices, cultural appropriations of beauty standards)
  • Reformulations or challenges to conventional notions of health: feminist applications of phenomenology such as subjectivity, identity, embodiment, intersectionality and everyday epistemology in relation to the body; health of individuals as dependant on their communities (e.g., pressure on new mothers to breastfeed).

Please send completed manuscripts (6000-10,000 words) by May 30th, 2017

For further guidelines and instructions, please visit:

Calls for Papers: Cities, Urban Societies, and Syphilis in the Mediterranean

Call for papers

Cities, Urban Societies, and Syphilis in the Mediterranean, 16th-21st Centuries

Faculty of Medicine, Marseille, 25-27 October 2017

 With almost 500 cases diagnosed in France in 2015, syphilis has not disappeared yet. The “scourge of Naples” is still challenging society and medicine. The very nature of syphilis both frightens and fascinates. Traditionally considered a shameful disease contracted in the intimacy of the bedroom, it has been of concern to societies for many centuries now, as it relates to their morals, their capacity to medically and therapeutically innovate, as well as their arrangements for the enforcement of a public health policy or their will to assume an efficient healthcare policy. Although those questions are not recent, they remain deeply rooted in our relationship to the disease and to the bodies it inhabits, which can be severely bruised in the third stage of its evolution.

The main topic of this symposium is to propose a convergence among scholarship emanating from historians, anthropologists, and physicians with a focus on the “shock” caused by the encounter of the Treponema pallidum with societies on a municipal scale, and particularly in harbour cities. The symposium aims at combining a multiplicity of contexts, including global, colonial, and metropolitan perspectives, and a long-time perspective with the contemporary experience of a growing syphilis epidemic.

The symposium will be organized into three sessions aiming at documenting and giving useful information about the spread of the disease on the scale of a city, a harbour and notably a Mediterranean territory. In order to compare diffusion as well as origins of the disease, contributions about other geographical areas will also be welcome. Preference will be given to papers that explore a municipal scale or harbour context (be it civil or military) or that deal with enclosed spaces, like enclaves or geographically, culturally or socially-isolated populations.

The symposium will start with communications dealing with very contemporary medical issues (Session 1 – Cities, Urban Societies and Syphilis in the Mediterranean: Current Medical Data). These contributions will be based on issues linked with the diagnosis and the epidemiology of syphilis, with the methods of prevention and the way public health policies work on the ground, or with the available therapeutic solutions. The symposium will then move on to diachronic perspectives (Session 2 – Cities, Urban Societies and Syphilis in the Mediterranean: Historical Context and Medical-historical Inferences). To finish, the anthropological dimension will be taken into account (Session 3 – Cities, Urban Societies and Syphilis in the Mediterranean: Anthropological Approach). Beyond the paleo-pathological and archeo-thanatological contexts, this final session will try to broach the evolution of social constructions and differing representations of the disease.


We accept both paper and poster communications. Papers can be submitted for all three sessions; posters, based on case reports or shorter studies, can be included only for Sessions 1 and 3.

The conference languages are French and English, and abstracts for papers and posters may be submitted in either language.

All abstracts must include:

  • a text (maximum of 1000 words), in Microsoft Office Word or compatible format. This should explain contain the main goals, methodology, results, discussion or final considerations of the presentation. It should clearly state whether you wish to present a paper or a poster
  • Title of paper/poster
  • Author(s) and institutional address(es);
  • Contact emails for all authors
  • Session in which you would like to present
  • Between three to five keywords to use for indexing. These should not appear in the title of the abstract.

Please submit all abstracts via email to The deadline for abstract submission is 30 APRIL 2017.

Some tourist informations about Marseille and Provence

Accommodations in Marseille

Calls for Papers: Special Issue on New Trends in the Historiography of Medicine

Call for Papers: special issue on New trends in the historiography of medicine

Deadline for paper submission: July 31th2017.

Publication of the issue: December, 2017.

We are expecting to receive submissions related to the new methodological approaches and the new objects that have been recently explored in the field of the history of medicine. These submissions can either propose a kind of meta-analysis of a new field of studies in the history of medicine (such as “global health”, relation between medicine and gender or race studies, history of pharmacology, health and environment, history of medicine in Africa etc.), or propose some epistemological analysis on new methodological approaches that have emerged in these last decades (such as the articulation of ethnography and historical methods, the historical epistemology applied to medical history, the relevance of visual studies to the history of medicine etc.). Papers applying an original methodology to a specific object or historical materials are especially welcomed, as papers trying to embrace the development of an emergent field of researches in the area of history of medicine.

We are also expecting book reviews relevant for the above thematic.

In addition to English articles, Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science accepts articles in French, Portuguese and Spanish for evaluation, but after approval for publication the author should send the final version in English.

Submission details:

Submissions must be received by July 31th, 2017 via the webpage of the Journal, so they can be considered for the December 2017 issue. Submissions must be prepared for double blind review.

Author Guidelines

Online Submissions

For any further information concerning this Call for Papers, please contact:

Prof. Ana Carolina Vimieiro Gomes, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. E-mail:

Prof. Claude Olivier-Doron, Université Paris-Diderot (Paris VII), France. E-mail:

For any further information concerning this Journal, please contact the Editors-in-chief below.

Prof. Mauro L. Condé, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil. E-mail:

Prof. Marlon J. Salomon, Federal University of Goiás, Goiania, Brazil. E-mail: