Medical and Metaphorical Wounds from the Middle Ages to the First World War (CfP, London, 26-27 January 2018)


Diorama of Great War front with sectioned field dressing station, English, 1960-1975

Wounds and their meaning have differed over time: from stigmata to the psychological wounding of soldiers in the First World War, the conception and function of wounds as religious symbols, medical signs or metaphorical devices has depended on social and historical contexts. Over this two-day workshop, to take place on 26-27 January 2018 at the Science Museum in London, we hope to further a discussion on the varied understandings of wounds and wounding across history by bringing museum professionals and academics from different periods and disciplines together.

This workshop will mark the closing of the Wounded: Conflict, Casualties and Care exhibition at the Science Museum, on wound care and surgical developments in the First World War. The format will be a series of panels, discussions and (guided) exclusive access to the Science Museum’s extensive medical collections not currently on display. There will be a guided tour of the Wounded exhibition as well as a guided tour of Blythe House, one of the Science Museum object stores where large parts of the Wellcome Medical History Collection on permanent loan to the Science Museum is housed. The proceedings from this workshop are to be published in a Special Issue of the Science Museum Group Journal. Registration is free and lunch will be provided on both days. We will endeavour to cover travel costs for student and unwaged delegates. There will be a conference dinner at delegates’ own expense. We welcome abstracts on topics related to wounds and wounding from any period from the Middle Ages to the First World War.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Developments in wound care (surgical innovation during war, academic, scholastic, or educational changes)
  • Conception of wounds and wounding in medical text and literature
  • Descriptions and representations of wounds in medical text and literature
  • Physical and mental wounds
  • Representations of wounds and wounding in images and literature
  • Wounds as metaphor or simile
  • Wounds in religious practice, theory and representation
  • Wounds to the body politic and social wounds
  • The use of wounds and wounding in political or ideological discourse

Deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 October 2017.

Please submit a short abstract (max 300 words) and a short biography (max 150 words) to Sara Stradal. Any questions and queries should also be addressed to Sara.


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