Preliminary Programme

Wed 12 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 14 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 15 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00

All days
Go back

Wednesday 12 April 2023 11.00 - 13.00
R-2 HEA02 Experiencing Madness and Disability in Early Modern Europe
E45
Network: Health and Environment Chair: Raisa Toivo
Organizer: Mari Eyice Discussants: -
Moderators: -
Catherine Beck : As he did his Duty...: the Meaning of Mental Impairment, Difference and Disability at Sea in the Long Eighteenth Century
The understanding of insanity and experiences of mental disorder at sea were fundamentally shaped by the ocean environment and the contingencies of sea-service. Sailors were globally mobile but paradoxically confined to the tight space of the ship and the systems of social control required to sail it. The global mobility ... (Show more)
The understanding of insanity and experiences of mental disorder at sea were fundamentally shaped by the ocean environment and the contingencies of sea-service. Sailors were globally mobile but paradoxically confined to the tight space of the ship and the systems of social control required to sail it. The global mobility of sea-service dislocated sailors from kinship networks ashore which sufferers relied upon for care outside the asylum, while the tight space of ship caused surgeons to remove or restrain those they considered to be insane who they feared would disrupt the ship or endanger the crew. However, surgeons also widely attributed derangement to factors caused by the ocean environment and ship’s mobility through it, such as movement between hot and cold climates, or exposure to sunstroke, scurvy and nostalgia. Exposure to the wide variety of factors thought to disturb the body and mind created a context in which mental disturbance was an expected part of life at sea to which everyone was vulnerable. The mobility and tight space of the ship which could isolate sufferers also created close-knit shipboard communities, where messmates cared for one another especially in times of mental and emotional distress. The contingencies of sea-service which made functionality of each individual sailor a priority also moulded a culture of practical tolerance, sympathy and care towards mental disorder, difference and disability.

This paper uses surgeons' logs, courts martial and hospital records from across both the British and Danish-Norwegian navies to explore the complex relationship between insanity and the sea in the long eighteenth century. It investigates the way that the physical effects of the ocean environment intersected with the space of the ship, to shape experiences of mental disorder and surrounding cultures of stigma or acceptance. (Show less)

Mari Eyice : Experiencing Disability in 17th Century Stockholm
People with physical impairments were frequently appearing at the various public offices devoted to social services in 17th century Stockholm. Sometimes of their own accord, seeking assistance, and sometimes being accused of vagrancy or begging. This paper explores the various ways in which people with disabilities interacted with the public ... (Show more)
People with physical impairments were frequently appearing at the various public offices devoted to social services in 17th century Stockholm. Sometimes of their own accord, seeking assistance, and sometimes being accused of vagrancy or begging. This paper explores the various ways in which people with disabilities interacted with the public offices of the city and how the city responded.

It will show that physical impairment was indeed central to a person’s position in the city, but that other factors, such as age, gender and belonging were equally important. Thus, the paper will argue that bodily impairment was made into a disability in tandem with other aspects of a person’s situation and that these together made up the experience of disability in 17th century Stockholm. (Show less)

Julia Heinemann : Narrating War Disabilities in the Early Modern Habsburg Monarchy. Petitions from Soldiers and their Families
Since humans fight wars, these wars have lasting effects on their bodies. But the ways in which former soldiers lived with bodies shaped by war, how they were perceived, and which impairments were experienced as disabilities by the men or considered as such by the authorities are historically changing. For ... (Show more)
Since humans fight wars, these wars have lasting effects on their bodies. But the ways in which former soldiers lived with bodies shaped by war, how they were perceived, and which impairments were experienced as disabilities by the men or considered as such by the authorities are historically changing. For disability history, “invalids” are a particularly relevant subject because they are often considered the first case in which impairment served as grounds for categorizing people systematically and on a broad scale as a specific group worthy of support and for gradually measuring the ability to work: As long as mercenary armies dominated wars in Europe, incapacity to serve was mainly a personal risk for the mercenary soldiers. At the end of the 17th century, more and more European monarchies began to establish specialized institutions for disabled veterans of their standing armies, such as invalid homes, battalions or pensions. While we have a lot of sources showing how the authorities negotiated these changing concepts of war disabilities and which discourses shaped the understanding of invalids, reconstructing soldier’s perspectives is more difficult. The paper will address this problem in a case study of the Habsburg monarchy by analyzing petitions from soldiers to the emperor, the Lower Austrian Government and the city of Vienna from the 17th and 18th centuries. It will ask how the men and their families described themselves and their impaired bodies, how they narrated their experiences of disability and if these narratives changed over time. The examples show the difficulties of navigating the institutional responsibilities. Using the social model of disability reveals that being an invalid was a question of recognition by the authorities: Not every impaired soldier was an invalid. (Show less)

Riikka Miettinen : Sensing Madness: Bodily Experiences of Mental Disability in Early Modern Sweden
The paper explores the ways in which those afflicted experienced, and were described to experience, mental disability and derangement in their bodies in early modern Sweden (incl. Finland). Modern medicine takes widely into account the physical or bodily symptoms and somatic manifestations of mental health problems, and the topic deserves ... (Show more)
The paper explores the ways in which those afflicted experienced, and were described to experience, mental disability and derangement in their bodies in early modern Sweden (incl. Finland). Modern medicine takes widely into account the physical or bodily symptoms and somatic manifestations of mental health problems, and the topic deserves more attention also in historical contexts. Like the vocabulary, also the manifestations and performance of madness vary to some extent in different cultural settings. This is not to say that some somatic aspects of mental illnesses are not biological and acultural – simply that culture also influences our ‘human somatics’ and how madness was (and is) sensed, felt and expressed, shaping dominant collective modes of experiencing, expressing and portraying madness and mental impairments.

Insanity and ‘illnesses of the head’, as the classified forms of humoural imbalances affecting the mind were called in medical treatises, entailed various corporeal effects and manifestations that were described not only in scholarly writings but also in descriptions of (and by) ‘mad’ people. As well known, the medical thinking, still largely based on the Galenic model, did not sharply differentiate the body and the mind but continued to share an association between rationality and capacities of the ‘mind’ and the body and its humours. Severe forms of madness could include a wide range of physical sensations, such as visual and auditory hallucinations, burning and stinging sensations, passing out, sweating and heart palpitations as well as other more-or-less disabling bodily manifestations. Milder and ambiguous mental afflictions, often coming under the umbrella term ‘mental weaknesses’ (hufwudswagheter), were experienced especially in the head and the heart, for example as weaknesses, aches, heaviness and dizziness. The paper discusses the descriptions and language of such bodily sensations and experiences as they were communicated and verbalized, especially in rural lay communities in seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Sweden. The material for this paper consists of lower court records and other judicial documents, journals and a selection of popular medical treatises that include descriptions of the bodily experiences of the ‘mad’. (Show less)



Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer