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Between natural and supernatural: affected bodies in the 18th century

Entre naturel et surnaturel, les corps affectés au XVIIIe siècle

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Published on Thursday, July 15, 2021 by João Fernandes

Summary

Ce colloque portera sur la question du corps entre le naturel et le surnaturel, au XVIIIe siècle en Europe. Il s’agira de revenir sur un argument épistémologique communément admis dans l’historiographie selon lequel l’époque des Lumières et la critique du religieux ont réglé définitivement la séparation du naturel et du surnaturel. Les champs qui nous intéressent en particulier, et qui s’avèrent des plus judicieux en ce domaine, concernent l’histoire de la médecine, l’histoire du religieux, la philosophie et l’anthropologie. Nous aborderons le problème en nous concentrant sur la question du corps, et sur les relations entre l’âme et le corps. Nous parlerons des corps en situation, des corps affectés, malmenés, troublés, déviants, possédés, convulsionnaires, autant de situations propices à relancer la question du départage entre le naturel et le surnaturel.

Announcement

International conference, May 31st-June 3rd 2022, CHUV, Lausanne & Château Mercier, Sierre

 Argument 

This conference will focus on the question of the body, between the natural and the supernatural, in Europe during the 18th century. It will review the epistemological argument that has been commonly adopted in historiography, according to which the Enlightenment and the critique of religion definitively separated the natural from the supernatural. The fields of study that are of particular interest to us, and which are among the most pertinent in this area, are the history of medicine, the history of religion, philosophy and anthropology. We will examine this subject by focusing on the question of the body, and on the relations between the soul and the body. We will analyze bodies in situation, bodies that are affected, mistreated, troubled, deviant, possessed or in convulsion. These situations will allow us to renew the question of the relation between the natural and the supernatural.

Each conference participant will present original research based on a set of documentary sources dealing with one or several cases studies. He/She will put into perspective a body that is in a specific “affective” situation that organizes, seizes and represents it. Such an approach will allow us to ask this question from a different perspective, without reducing the analysis to the sole overarching perspective of a “history of ideas”. Several themes come to mind, such as the Convulsionaries, demonic possession, tarantism, vampirism, mesmerism, relics, lycanthropy, “the wild man”, signs of death, as well as the reception of these phenomena by the first alienists and the pathologization of religious phenomena.

This conference will be structured as follows: an inaugural conference will take place on May 31st 2022 at the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV, Lausanne), the participants will then meet from June 1st to June 3rd 2022 at the Château Mercier (Sierre). Each participant will have one hour to present and analyze their case study and the archival sources, followed by 30 minutes of discussion. Conferences can be given in French or in English, however, a comprehension of French is expected. We plan to publish the entirety of these conference papers.

Submission guidelines

If you are interested in participating in this conference, please submit a proposal

by September 30th 2021

to the following e-mail address: ihm@chuv.ch, with the mention “corpsaffectés2022” in the subject line. 

The proposal (1 page maximum) should present the case study and the sources that will be analyzed, followed by a brief biography. 

The scientific committee will examine the submitted proposals and will reply soon thereafter. The participants’ expenses (travel, meals and accommodation) will be covered. 

This conference is funded by the Swiss national science foundation (n° 178886). 

Organizers and scientific committee

  • Vincent Barras (Institut des humanités en médecine, CHUV&UNIL, Lausanne)
  • Léonard Dolivo (Institut des humanités en médecine, CHUV&UNIL, Lausanne)
  • Serge Margel (Institut des humanités en médecine, CHUV&UNIL, Lausanne)
  • Eva Yampolsky (Institut des humanités en médecine, CHUV&UNIL, Lausanne)

Places

  • Lausanne & Sierre
    Lausanne, Switzerland

Date(s)

  • Thursday, September 30, 2021

Keywords

  • naturel, surnaturel, médecine, religion

Contact(s)

  • Eva Yampolsky
    courriel : ihm [at] chuv [dot] ch

Information source

  • Eva Yampolsky
    courriel : ihm [at] chuv [dot] ch

To cite this announcement

« Between natural and supernatural: affected bodies in the 18th century », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, July 15, 2021, https://calenda.org/897534

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