A Matter of Life and Death: Spaces for Healing in the Premodern Era
Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting, St. Paul, MN April 18-22, 2018
The history of healthcare facilities, regardless of their scale and location, offers valuable insights into the priorities of health, science, and medicine within various civilizations. Whether constructed as part of monasteries in medieval Europe, Chinese palaces in fifteenth-century Beijing, or religious complexes in Ottoman Istanbul, healthcare spaces embodied both social and professional expectations for therapy, caring, and healing. The relationships between the architectural forms associated with healthcare and those of other buildings in the pre-modern era, such as religious buildings, bathhouses, almshouses, and schools reflected wider cultural attitudes towards healing.
This panel invites papers that examine structures and spaces created for healing in the pre-modern era. Submissions could clarify what constituted “health” at a given moment in time, how healthcare architecture responded to contextual issues and traditions, or how the scientific and social/cultural context influenced its design. Papers may focus on a single structure, specialized typologies (e.g., mental health facilities), complexes in a particular city or region, or any other topic relevant to the historical presence of healthcare facilities.
The papers could also explore the formation of hospitals as an independent building typology; the impact of medical advances on the design of hospitals from various times and geographies; the integration of gardens/outdoor spaces in the design of hospitals; the connections between urban design and healthcare facilities; the involvement of non-architects in the design or construction processes; cross-cultural exchanges on healthcare; the impact of medical training on healthcare architecture; the evolution of interior design responses to medical developments; stylistic connections between hospitals and other building types; the development of specialized hospitals; and the ways in which cultural norms of race, gender, and class shaped healthcare design. We welcome submissions that deploy interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to the analysis of healthcare facilities.
Submission details: The deadline for submitting abstracts is June 16, 2017.
The Society of Architectural Historians is using an online abstract submission process. Please note that abstracts must be under 300 words; the title cannot exceed 65 characters, including spaces and punctuation; and abstracts must follow the Chicago Manual of Style. For more information on the submission process, please go to the following link.