Theorizing Health and Illness During the North American Enlightenment
Panel Chair: Thomas Lawrence Long, University of Connecticut
From the earliest European colonial texts, the Americas were configured as a uniquely salutary locus amoenus. Unsurprisingly, health, medicine, and nutrition were among the concerns of writers in English North America, famously Cotton Mather in the manuscript Angel of Bethesda and William Byrd II in his diaries and in History of the Dividing Line, as well as more popularly and widely represented in Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack and later by Thomas Jefferson in Notes on the State of Virginia.
Imagining the Americas as a “eutopia” was challenged by periodic epidemics of smallpox, measles, influenza, and yellow fever. By the late Colonial period and the Early Republic in North America, writers could inflect cities as distempered places in contrast to rural locations as healthy places. Slavery likewise might be represented in the terms of health and disease. This panel seeks papers that examine the discourses of health, illness, and disease in early America in order to discern the varied configurations of religion, of emerging medical science, and of socio-political anxiety. What are the competing medical and dietary paradigms that appear in the discourses of the North American Enlightenment? How are diverse healing practices (from Western medical to indigenous botanical) represented? How are medical discourses imbricated with moralizing discourses? How do race and ethnicity function as markers of healthy or unhealthy communities? In what ways are the health of the body politic and the health of citizens’ bodies
related in texts of the late Colonial period and Early Republic? Please send a 250- to 500-word proposal, with brief vita and contact information to Thomas Lawrence Long, University of Connecticut (Thomas.Long@UConn.edu) by September 20, 2010.
Thomas Lawrence Long, PhD
School of Nursing
University of Connecticut
231 Glenbrook Rd. U-2026
Storrs, CT 06269-2026
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)