This path-breaking collection offers an integrative model for understanding health and healing in Europe and the Mediterranean from 1250-1550. By foregrounding gender as an organizing principle of healthcare, the contributors challenge traditional binaries that ahistorically separate care from cure, medicine from religion, and domestic healing from fee-for-service medical exchanges. The essays collected here illuminate previously hidden and undervalued forms of healthcare and varieties of body knowledge produced and transmitted outside the traditional settings of university, guild, and academy. They draw on non-traditional sources-vernacular regimens, oral communications, religious and legal sources, images and objects-to reveal additional locations for producing body knowledge in households, religious communities, hospices, and public markets. Emphasizing cross-confessional and multi-linguistic exchange, the essays also reveal the multiple pathways for knowledge transfer in these centuries. The volume provides a synoptic view of how gender and cross-cultural exchange shaped medical theory and practice in later medieval and Renaissance societies.
Sara Ritchey is Associate Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and is author of Holy Matter: Changing Perceptions of the Material World in Late Medieval Christianity (2014).
Sharon Strocchia is Professor of History at Emory University in Atlanta. A social and cultural historian of Renaissance Italy, she has published widely on women, religion, and health-related topics. Her most recent book is Forgotten Healers: Women and the Pursuit of Health in Late Renaissance Italy (2019).