European Association for the History of Medicine and Health, Biennial Conference
Co-organized by the University of Evora and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon
Risks and disasters have always been central issues in health and medicine. They illuminate the interfaces between science, medicine, environment, economy, society, culture and politics. Responses to preventive measures have often reflected tensions between the perceived wider social and economic benefits of interventions and the short-term costs imposed on individuals, specific social groups or society at large. One issue raised by such tensions has been whether individual freedom is deemed less important than the health of the community. Threats of epidemics have provoked local, national and international agencies to adopt drastic measures, consciously balancing the risk of disease against the economic risks posed by the disruption of trade or the implementation of expensive sanitary or environmental-protection measures whose cost effectiveness was difficult to foresee.
The strategies developed to cope with risk and disaster form the core of public health and medical philosophy, ranging from quarantines and vaccinations to screening programmes and high-tech medical monitoring. Yet there are distinct national and chronological differences in definitions, perceptions and representation of risks and dangers. They also vary according to the decision makers and broader publics: governments, medical professionals and other agencies, and different social classes, ethnic and gender groups.
We invite papers on all aspects of risk and disaster in the history of health and medicine, including its changing definition and the movement towards its quantification, covering epidemics, infectious and chronic disease, injuries and mental health. The articulation between personal risk, diagnosis and prognosis throughout history and health risks affecting communities of all sizes is, we believe, a key issue. We encourage contributions treating national and chronological differences and shifts in the definitions, perceptions and representation of risks and dangers, considered globally and according to race and ethnicity, gender, class, and professional status. We also invite proposals considering the management of risk, issues of vulnerability and anxiety, as well as the role of disaster management and humanitarian interventions on the part of a range of agencies and historical actors. Submissions relating to all historical periods and all regions are welcome, as are submissions from non-members.
The Lisbon Conference will have special sessions on the ‘History of Medicine on Display’, covering museology and the history of medicine and health as well as other practices of displaying the history of medicine to the public.
Abstracts should not exceed one page and should include information on the scientific question examined, sources and approach. Abstracts must contain a title, four key words and relevant information on the speaker (name, affiliation, address, email address). In addition to single-paper proposals, the Scientific Board welcomes proposals for sessions including three or four papers (though these will be judged on their individual merits).