Monthly Archives: September 2015

Symposium: “Dying Well”

“Dying Well”: Enacting Medical Ethics
A cross-disciplinary Symposium at Barts Pathology Museum 25-26 September 2015

This symposium adopts a cross-disciplinary approach to ongoing debates on end-of-life care. Medical professionals, lawyers, ethicists, policy makers, humanities scholars, cultural practitioners and patient representatives will come together to consider what it might mean in today’s world to ‘die well’. The springboard for this event is Arthur Schnitzler’s medical drama Professor Bernhardi (1912), which will be performed in a new adaptation at Barts Pathology Museum on 23-25 September. The play focuses on a Jewish doctor who prevents a Catholic priest from giving the last rites to a patient who is unaware that she is dying, and takes a wry look at some of the ways in which death is embroiled in wider social structures: cultural, political and religious. The symposium takes up key questions posed by Schnitzler’s unlikely comedy and explores them from a contemporary perspective, in four panels addressing socio-cultural responses to the challenges of biomedicine; bodily practices and embodied knowledge; faith, conscience and the role of doctors; and current institutional perspectives on end-of-life care. Distinguished speakers include Baroness Ilora Finlay, Professor Jonathan Montgomery and Dr Samir Guglani.

Theatre performance and symposium both take place in Barts Pathology Museum in London’s West Smithfield, at the heart of the historic Barts Hospital site. This remarkable space, in which over 5000 medical specimens are displayed, is not normally accessible to the public. The symposium is a collaboration between the Schnitzler Digital Edition Project, based at the Universities of Cambridge, Bristol and UCL; UCL Health Humanities Centre; and the theatre company Foreign Affairs.

The symposium is open to the public and includes a performance of Arthur Schnitzler’s Professor Bernhardi by Foreign Affairs theatre company on 25 September 2015.

Registration is now open. Programme and further details are available on the symposium website:

CFP: Religion and Medicine: Healing the Body and Soul from the Middle Ages to the Modern Day


Birkbeck, University of London, 15-16 July 2016

Convenors: Katherine Harvey, John Henderson and Carmen Mangion

In the contemporary Western world, religion and medicine are increasingly separated, but through much of history they have been closely interrelated. This relationship has been characterised by some conflict, but also by a great deal of cooperation. Religious perspectives have informed both the understanding of and approaches to health and sickness, whilst religious personnel have frequently been at the forefront of medical provision. Religious organisations were, moreover, often at the heart of the response to medical emergencies, and provided key healing environments, such as hospitals and pilgrimage sites.

This conference will explore the relationship between religion and medicine in the historic past, ranging over a long chronological framework and a wide geographical span. The conference focus will be primarily historical, and we welcome contributions which take an interdisciplinary approach to this topic.

Four main themes will provide the focus of the conference. The sub-themes are not prescriptive, but are suggested as potential subjects for consideration:

Healing the Body and Healing the Soul

  • Medical traditions: the non-natural environment and the ‘Passions of the Soul’.
  • Religious traditions (for example, the Church Fathers, sermons and devotional literature).

    The Religious and Medicine

  • Medical knowledge and practice of religious personnel, including secular and regular clergy.
  • Nurses and nursing.
  • Medical practitioners, religious authorities and the regulation of medical activity and practice.

    Religious Responses

  • Religious responses to epidemics, from leprosy to plague to pox and cholera.
  • Medical missions in Europe and the wider world.
  • Religion, humanitarianism and medical care.

    Healing Environments and Religion

  • Religious healing/ miracles/ pilgrimage.
  • Institutional medical care (including hospitals, dispensaries and convalescent homes).

Proposals, consisting of a paper abstract (no more than 300 words) and a short biography (no more than 400 words), should be submitted to by 30 October 2015. We will to respond to proposals by early December. For more information please visit our website, at, and follow us on Twitter @RelMedConf2016

CFP: Scientiae Oxford 2016

Scientiae Oxford 2016

St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, 5-7 July 2016

Keynote Speakers: Martin Kemp (Oxford), Wouter Hanegraaff (Amsterdam), Third Speaker TBC

Convenor: Georgiana Hedesan (Oxford), Senior Adviser: Howard Hotson (Oxford), Organising Team: Karen Hollewand (Oxford), Cornelis Schilt (Sussex), Luca Guariento (Glasgow)

Proposals are invited for the fifth annual Scientiae conference on disciplines of knowing in the early modern world (roughly 1400-1800). The major premise of this conference series is that knowledge during this period was inherently interdisciplinary, involving complex mixtures of theories, practices and objects, which had yet to be separated into their modern ‘scientific’ configurations. Although centred on attempts to understand and control the natural world, Scientiae addresses natural philosophy, natural history, and the scientiae mixtae within a wide range of related fields, including but not restricted to Biblical exegesis, medicine, artisan practice and theory, logic, humanism, alchemy, magic, witchcraft, demonology, divinatory practices, astronomy, astrology, music, antiquarianism, experimentation and commerce. Attention is also given to mapping intellectual geographies through the tools of the digital humanities.

Scientiae Oxford 2016 welcomes proposals from researchers studying the early modern cultures and disciplines of knowing at any stage in their career. The proposals can be for individual papers, complete panels, roundtables or workshops, according to the following guidelines:

Individual paper: A 300-word abstract for papers of maximum 20 minutes.

Panel Proposal: Each panel will be 1 hour 30 minutes and must include three speakers. The panel organiser should send a proposal containing three 200-word abstracts for papers of 20 minutes each together with an overall account of the panel (max. 300 words).

Roundtable: Each roundtable will also last 1 hour 30 minutes, must include at the very least one chair and one or two respondents, and must engage the audience. The roundtable proposal should formulate a clear question and provide a rationale for it of c. 400-600 words.

Workshop (new at Scientiae 2016): A workshop is an opportunity for teaching and learning in some area of early modern intellectual and/or material culture. Examples might include period instruments, laboratory practices, pedagogic or art techniques, digital humanities and print culture. A proposal of 400-800 words should be provided by the organiser(s), together with details about the organisation, duration, and presenters. Workshop leaders will also need to work out logistical issues well in advance, with limited assistance from on-site conference convenors. Advance sign-up by participants will be required.

Please submit your proposal together with a brief bio (up to 300 words) by using the online form All submissions should be made by 15 November 2015. 


For more information, please also see the Oxford Scientiae website at

Seminar: ‘From Typhoid Mary to Ebola: the limits of liberty in modern plagues’

Zeb Jamrozik, Green Templeton College Visiting Scholar and researcher at the Ethox Centre will be giving a seminar on some of his research on Wednesday, 16 September at 6pm.

The seminar will take place in the E P Abraham Lecture Theatre at Green Templeton College. Directions can be found here.

Zeb will discuss Mary Mallon, who was kept in isolation by the New York Public Health Department for over 20 years because she was an asymptomatic typhoid carrier in the era before antibiotics. Likewise, when facing a disease without treatment in the recent West African Ebola outbreak, authorities instituted the ancient quarantine tactic of a cordon sanitaire.

The threat of infectious disease has been met with various limitations on the liberties of individuals, and sometimes of groups.

In this talk Zeb will give examples from the history of such practices before turning to an account of when, why, and to what degree such restrictions are justified, drawing on emerging themes in public health ethics. He will also briefly discuss novel ways of thinking about related policy problems including mass vaccination and antibiotic resistance.

There is no need to register and the lecture is free to attend.

Opening hours w/b 7 September

Owing to staff annual leave, next week our opening hours are reduced – we apologise for the inconvenience.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Unstaffed
Tuesday: 2:15pm-5pm
Thursday: 2pm-4:30pm

As ever, please get in touch with us to make an appointment if you would like to come and visit the library. Enjoy your weekend!