Skip to main content

IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 228: Networks of Disease, Charity, and Medicine

Monday 3 July 2023, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Eleanor Price, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, New York
Paper 228-aInfectious Assemblages: Plague, Leprosy, and Bodily Porousness in Late Medieval Middle English Sermons
(Language: English)
Sadegh Attari, Department of English Literature, University of Birmingham
Index terms: Medicine, Mentalities, Religious Life, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 228-bVisualising Medieval Medical Ingredient Networks
(Language: English)
Erin Connelly, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Index terms: Medicine, Science
Paper 228-cThe Network of Medicine, Music, and the Church in Medieval York
(Language: English)
Wendy J. Turner, Department of History, Anthropology & Philosophy, Augusta University, Georgia
Index terms: Daily Life, Ecclesiastical History, Medicine, Religious Life

Paper -a:
This paper examines the entanglement of plague and leprosy in polemical late medieval Middle English sermons preached by the orthodox clergy against Lollards and vice versa. It argues that medical theorisations of both diseases, as well as reference to those theorisations and the material reality of the diseases themselves in sermons, produced a material-discursive assemblage out of the infected human body. In turn, this assemblage disseminated an understanding of the human body as porous, malleable, and open to creating networks with nonhuman entities such as those operative in the engendering of plague and leprosy.

Paper -b:
Medieval manuscripts contain numerous remedies for the treatment of microbial infections, and these often involve complex combinations of several ingredients. This paper will present the methodology of quantitative analyses of historical recipes in surviving medical books, and empirical tests of the antimicrobial activity of remedies inspired by historical combinations. Using network analysis tools to analyse medieval medical texts is a powerful way to identify potentially effective ingredient combinations. This is a novel route to developing new antimicrobial therapeutics in a time of increasing antimicrobial resistance. The paper will present pilot data from two completed studies alongside ongoing work as part of an international, interdisciplinary effort to explore ethnopharmacology and the antimicrobial efficacy of ingredients from historical and traditional medical sources.

Paper -c:
In medieval York, the minster's choir master was the individual who oversaw donations coming into the diocesan church, including those alms earmarked for the hospital. He also oversaw outgoing alms, cremmets (smaller regular annuities to individuals), and corrodies (larger annuities and/or hospital spaces). All of the choir members not only had to sing for their room and board, but they also assisted the director with all of the funds coming into and going out of the church coffers. This paper will look at the York Minster's choir directive, the various monies they were overseeing, and how that entanglement effected their relationship with the local community.