Angelical Conjunctions: Crossroads of Medicine and Religion, 1200-1800
McGill University on April 13-15, 2019
“Angelical Conjunction” was the term coined by the seventeenth-century New England Puritan Cotton Mather to denote the mutual affinity of medicine and religion. Indeed, medical and spiritual practices have a long history of coexistence in many religious traditions. This connection took many forms, from the pious provision of health care (in person or through endowed charity), to the archetypal figure of the healing prophet. Yet despite decades of specialized research, a coherent and analytical history of the “angelical conjunction” itself remains elusive. This conference therefore aims to explore the connection between medicine and religion across the time-span of the late medieval and early modern eras, and from an intercultural perspective. Taking as our focus the Mediterranean, the Islamic World and Europe, and the various Christianities, Islams and Judaisms that flourished there, we aim to develop methodological and theoretical perspectives on the “angelical conjunction(s)” of these two spheres. How did the entanglement of religion and medicine shape epistemologies in both of these spheres? What are the conceptions of the body and its relationship to the soul that these entanglements assumed or envisioned? What were the limits to coexistence? How did the “conjunction” change over time?
We invite papers on a range of themes that include, but are not limited to:
- The relationship between spiritual charisma and medical practice
- The involvement of medical practitioners in theological debates
- Medicine and “fringe” religious traditions (e.g. Hermetic, heretical, “occult”…)
- Representations of the healer-prophet or healer-saint in art
- Debates on body and soul informed by medical and theological knowledge
- Spiritualization of physical illness
- Devotion as therapy, and (the provision of) therapy as devotion
Accommodation and meals will be provided. We are in the process of seeking grant support to subsidize travel.
Confirmed speakers include: Lauren Kassell (Keynote Speaker), Naama Cohen Hanegbi, Peter Jones, Claire Elisabeth Preston, and Ahmed Ragab.
Please submit an abstract of 300 words and a CV to Dr. Aslıhan Gürbüzel at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15, 2018.