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Health and Disease in the Middle Ages

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Health and Disease in The Middle Ages” is a five-week college and university faculty seminar for sixteen participants to explore how scientific technologies can inform humanistic methods in interpreting disease. To be held in London at the Wellcome Library, the seminar, co-directed by historian Monica Green and bio-archaeologist Rachel Scott (both of Arizona State University), explores the intersections of religion, economics, and medicine in the treatment of disease and disabling conditions in the medieval period. By engaging historians of medieval medicine with modern bioscience, it attempts to cross scientific and humanistic boundaries; and by comparing how cultural contexts lead to different reactions to the same physical threats, the seminar also brings together the intersecting influences of medieval Christian and Islamic cultures with a modern biomedical perspective. Week one begins with medieval medical historiography; week two delves into medieval theoretical pathology; week three unpacks both medical and historical/cultural aspects of leprosy as a case study of a chronic condition; week four, in contrast, is devoted to the transmission of acute epidemics like the Black Death; week five explores alternative therapies from the religious to the magical. Common readings are supplemented by presentations by the directors and guest scholars including Florence Glaze (Coastal Carolina University), Luke Demaitre (University of Virginia), and Ann Carmichael (Indiana University). In addition, research trips take place to the city of Bath, the Chelsea Physic Garden, and the Museum of London.  Participants present preliminary findings of their own research to the seminar group. 

Dates: June 24-July 28 (5 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: Arizona State University
Location: London, UK

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.