Category Archives: Uncategorized

Library Christmas Closure and January Opening

From Monday 19th December, the Wellcome Unit Library will be closed for the Christmas period, and will remain unstaffed until Monday 9th January, when we will re-open as usual with the following opening hours:

Monday (9th Jan), Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 2:15pm-5pm
Wednesday: 4pm

Wellcome Unit Library staff will still be available via email until 5pm on Thursday 22nd December, and then from 9am on Tuesday 3rd January – please contact us if you have any questions, or to make future appointments. During these two weeks, the History Faculty Library and Radcliffe Science Library will be open as usual, and will be able to provide some material on the History of Medicine. Between 23rd December and 2nd January (inclusive), these libraries will also be closed.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas. The image below shows Christmas Day in a hospital ward in 1916 – hopefully not where you’ll be spending the festive season, but it looks pretty jolly nonetheless!

L0032764 Christmas Day in a ward of a hospital Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images Christmas Day in a ward of a hospital. Watercolour by Nurse Dakin (?), 1917-18. Iconographic Collections catalogue no. 43390i 1917 By: DakinPublished: 1917. Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

L0032764 Christmas Day in a ward of a hospital
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images;
Christmas Day in a ward of a hospital. Watercolour by Nurse Dakin (?), 1917-18.
Iconographic Collections catalogue no. 43390i
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0


ArgO-EMR Seminars (Anthropology Research Group at Oxford on Eastern Medicines and Religions)

unioxflogoUniversity of Oxford
School of Anthropology
51 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PE


ArgO-EMR Seminars
The Anthropology Research Group at Oxford on Eastern Medicines and Religions

Wednesdays 5–6.30pm
Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road
Michaelmas Term 2016

“Botanical Ontologies in Asian Medicine”

Week 1,   12 Oct        Jan M.A. van der Valk
(School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent)
Testing Tibetan materia medica scientifically: Hybrid ontologies in practice?

Week 3,   26 Oct        Dr Calum Blaikie
(Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Re-routing rhizomes: Himalayan plants and properties in transit

Week 5,   9 Nov        Dr Stephan Kloos
(Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Reassembling Sowa Rigpa:
From traditional culture to plant-based knowledge industries

Week 7,   23 Nov        Manuel Campinas
(London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
A comparative exposition of Chinese and Russian botanical ontologies

Convenors: Elisabeth Hsu and Paola Esposito,


CFP – Gender and Pain in Modern History

Birkbeck, University of London
Public Conference: 24 – 25 March 2017

Call for Papers – Deadline 14 October 2016

In 2012, The Journal of Pain published a definitive study about the relationship between gender and pain, showing that for the vast majority of ailments, women reported significantly higher levels of pain (approximately twenty per cent higher) than men. In a variety of historical contexts, the female body has been associated with heightened sensitivity of various types. These images were borne out by cultural representations of female delicacy. However, female bodies have also been singled out for their ability to bear heightened pain, especially during childbirth. Representations of male stoicism (or perceived lack thereof) in the face of pain have also been a powerful image in many contexts. Women and men have long been thought to experience bodily sensations including discomfort and pain in a variety of culturally and historically specific ways: pain has routinely been gendered.

This two-day conference focuses on the historical relationship(s) between gender and pain between the early modern period and the present day. It aims to foster discussion among experts working on women’s history, the history of masculinity, and the history of gender; the history of science, health, and medicine; and the history of the body, with perspectives from a variety of national contexts and disciplinary backgrounds. Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Histories of female and/or male experiences of pain, including attention to uniquely female or male medical ailments or conditions
  • Attention to historical representations of pain as they relate to femininity or masculinity
  • Gendered experiences of emotional pain and trauma
  • Attention to the role of other categories including race, ethnicity, age, and class or mode of living as they relate to gendered experiences of pain
  • Intersections of pain and sexuality, including pain during intercourse, sadism and masochism
  • Intersections of pain and reproduction – attention to the history of pain during pregnancy and childbirth, and perceptions of fetal pain including during abortion
  • The effects of gender on engagement with medicine and medical practitioners
  • The responses of various medical and cultural communities to pain in women and in men
  • Pain, gender, and social relationships
  • Representations of gender, sensitivity, and pain in art, literature, film, and drama

Confirmed speakers include Professor Keith Wailoo, Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs (Princeton University), Professor Wendy Kline, Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine (Purdue University), and Dr Lisa Smith (University of Essex).

Please send abstracts of up to 350 words together with a brief (1 page) curriculum vitae to by October 14, 2016.

This conference is organized by Dr Whitney Wood and Professor Joanna Bourke, in affiliation with the Birkbeck Trauma Project. This event is supported by the Birkbeck Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. More information can be found at

The conference will be held at Birkbeck, University of London, located in Russell Square in central London. Following the conference, presenters will be invited to submit papers for a special journal issue or edited collection based on the conference themes.

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