HGSCEA panel at CAA

HGSCEA sponsors a panel at the annual College Art Association Conference. Call for Session proposals are solicited in January of the year before the conference.

CALL FOR PAPERS: “Health, Illness, and the Art of Medicine”

College Art Association, Chicago, February 2024

This session is sponsored by HGSCEA (Historians of German, Scandinavian, and Central European Art and Architecture)

Carl Ernst Bock’s 1855 best-seller Das Buch von gesunden und kranken Menschen (Leipzig)presaged a decades-long cultural preoccupation with disease and hygiene in Germany, Austro-Hungary, and the Nordic countries.  The first illustrated histories of medicine appeared in Germany (by Eugen Holländer and Hermann Peter), while Berlin and Vienna were the sites of pioneering medical discoveries in pathology (Rudolf Virchow), germ theory (Robert Koch), surgical techniques (Theodore Billroth) and antiseptic procedures (Hungarian Ignaz Semmelwies).  Germans were also at the forefront of naturopathy, founding the Deutscher Verein für Naturheilkunde und volksverständliche Gesundheitspflege in 1883 and initiating the Lebensreform movement.  Copenhagen became a center for heliotherapy for which Niels Ryberg Finsen received the Nobel Prize in 1903. Hygiene exhibitions were curated in Vienna in 1906 and in Dresden in 1911.  Despite recurrent pandemic outbreaks, an “epidemic of health” (Paul Niemeyer) prevailed. This session invites papers that consider how this cultural saturation with medical matters was reflected in popular visual culture and art from the mid-nineteenth century through the 1920s in Germany, Austro-Hungary, and the Nordic countries. Papers could examine representations related to new medical practices, technology, or homeopathy and, for example, explore visualizations of pandemic disease, surgery, trauma in sick rooms, medical providers, and public health initiatives. Did such images celebrate achievements, express anxiety over medical innovations, or both?  How did the art of medicine in this period intersect with ideologies of and debates about gender, race, empire, and class? 

The respondent is Allison Morehead, Queens University, Canada

Please send proposals of no more than 250 words as well as a 1-page CV to both:

Marsha Morton, Pratt Institute (US) mortonmarsha10@gmail.com

Patricia Berman, Wellesley College (US), pberman@wellesley.edu

HGSCEA at CAA 2023 New York