A Conference organized by John Henderson and G. Geltner
Sponsored by the Medici Archive Project & Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies
Florence, 12 June 2014
Keynote Speaker: Carole Rawcliffe (University of East Anglia)
Against tenacious misconceptions, pre-modern cities in and beyond Italy are finally beginning to shed their reputation as demographic black holes. The revised view of earlier cities’ relative salubriousness, however, is mostly grounded in medical treatises and statutes, sometimes at the expense of documents and instruments of practice. The goal of this conference is to examine new kinds of evidence and demonstrate that the feasibility and popularity of health interventions can be gauged on the basis of additional sources and new methodologies. Criminal court documents, for instance, reveal the extent to which devised plans were ignored and pertinent regulations violated. City council protocols help to establish the scale of resources (human, financial, administrative) allocated to incentivize participation and to ensure a modicum of cooperation. Material culture, from archaeological remains to maps to figurative and symbolic art, as well as a wide range of descriptive and narrative sources, such as diaries, chronicles, and fiction, can also illuminate pre-modern approaches to perceived risks and possible solutions. Finally the conference will encourage participants to think beyond the traditional paradigm of exclusive concentration on the urban environment and seek to bridge the gap between urban and rural environments.
We invite scholars with pertinent interests in the history and culture of public health to submit a brief CV and a 250-word abstract of a projected paper, to last no longer than 25 minutes.
Deadline: All proposals to be sent to Dr Elena Brizio (email@example.com) by 15 February 2014.
Piergabriele Mancuso will speak at the Association for Jewish Studies conference (Boston, 15-17 December 2013). His paper is entitled: Magnifico principe: ambassadors, informers and spies at the service of the Medici court. The study of the Medici state papers and their relevance in the study of Jewish history.
Elena Brizio will present a paper entitled "Non poco darìa da pensare se fusse uno huomo bene suficiente et facultoso: Eustochia Bichi and her life in Cinquecento Siena" at the Biennial Medieval and Renaissance Conference which will take place at the New College of Florida at Sarasota on March 4-6, 2014.
Alessio Assonitis, Samuel Morrison Gallacher, Alana O'Brien, Marta Caroscio, Piergabriele Mancuso, Julia Siemon, John Henderson, Brendan Dooley, and Carla Darista will be presenting papers at the Renaissance Society of America which will take place in New York on March 27-29, 2014.
Tessa Gurney (Samuel H. Kress Fellow, Fall 2013) is co-organizing a graduate student conference entitled “Building Connections: The Changing Face of Romance Studies” (April 3-5, 2014 at UNC – Chapel Hill). For description and call for papers, click here.
Biblioteca Domenicana - Santa Maria Novella (Jacopo Passavanti) & Jane Fortune Research Project on Women Artists
October 4, 2013
This year marks the 75th anniversary of Giovanna Pierattini's groundbreaking study on nun artist Suor Plautilla Nelli, published in Memorie Domenicane in 1938. In conjunction with this anniversary, the MAP's Jane Fortune Research program on Women Artists and the Biblioteca Domenicana in Santa Maria Novella are co-sponsoring a conference on nun artists and the circumstances of artistic production in female monastic communities from the early Renaissance until the Napoleonic suppression, in Italy and abroad as well. The conference will take place October 4-5 in the Sala dell'Annunciazione at the Convento dei Frati Servi di Santa Maria (SS. Annunziata), via Cesare Battisti 6 (Firenze).
Medici, the name of the family that ruled Tuscany for two hundred years, means 'doctors.' This curious fact, however, is only the beginning of the epic story of this Italian court's role in unshackling medicine from ancient authorities like Galen and Hippocrates and leading it to the modern laboratory. Between 1537 and 1737, six generations of the Medici family enriched medical science with new drugs from the Americas, the Levant, and Asia; they created and managed botanical gardens, pharmacies, a hospital, and a university (Pisa), where new therapies and theories were always welcome; they recruited leading innovators in medicine and pharmacology from all over Europe and without regard to religious creed; and they themselves—the grand dukes and grand duchesses of the House of Medici—were avid amateur chemists and medical practitioners, delighting in the discovery of an opiate based recipe to relieve arthritis, or an oil of scorpion venom used to counteract any poisons that might infiltrate their banquets. Even more importantly, the Medici sovereigns recognized early on that their technological leadership in such a crucial human concern as medicine could be exploited for the purposes of statecraft and international diplomacy. Using almost exclusively unpublished documents from the Medici Granducal Archive, the presentation will reveal the Medici court's key role in the quest for knowledge of diseases and their cures. This lecture will be followed by a presentation of The Medici Archive Project by Alessio Assonitis, and a musical performance by Barbara Hollinshead and Howard Bass. Click here for more information.