IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 1218: Leprosy and Power in the High Middle Ages

Wednesday 5 July 2017, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Reading
Organiser:Katie Phillips, Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Reading
Moderator/Chair:Elma Brenner, Wellcome Library, London
Paper 1218-aFrom Heinrich to Tristan: The Changing Function of Lepers in Middle High German Literature
(Language: English)
Madelon Köhler-Busch, Department of Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Index terms: Canon Law, Language and Literature - German, Pagan Religions, Social History
Paper 1218-b'The Conspicuous Patron of Lepers'?: Lepers and the King in the 12th and Early 13th Centuries
(Language: English)
Paul Webster, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Index terms: Medicine, Politics and Diplomacy, Religious Life
Paper 1218-cLocus (in)honestus: Early Franciscan Attitudes towards the Leper Hospital
(Language: English)
Edward Sutcliffe, Department of Religion & Theology, University of Bristol
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography, Religious Life

The papers in this session will explore the relationship between lepers and authority, focussing particularly on England and France in the central Middle Ages. The complex and ambiguous perceptions of the disease resulted in similarly complicated responses, both towards individuals diagnosed with leprosy, and towards groups of lepers living in dedicated leper houses. The session will explore the way in which lepers may have used their diagnosis to their advantage, and perhaps exploited their ‘Otherness’. In addition, the responses of kings and legal bodies are examined as a means of understanding contemporary reactions to leprosy.