Pro salute hominum conservanda: Urban Infrastructure and Biopolitics in Later Medieval Italy

Lecture Room 8 - Arts Building
Arts and Law, Research
Monday 16th October 2017 (18:00-20:00)
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This lecture explores the role played by ubiquitous urban officials known as road masters (viarii) in the promotion of public health in later medieval Italy.

Situated on the margins of local administrations but at the forefront of efforts to reduce pollution, fight disease and maintain order and safety, viarii illuminate the diverse meanings health had and how it was negotiated between individual, group and corporate health agendas and as part of a clash between the private and public spheres. Beyond challenging an entrenched view of medieval cities as ignorant of and apathetic to public hygiene, tracing the daily activities of viarii also interrogates the allegedly seminal role played by Black Death as a watershed moment in the history of preventative measures.

Guy Geltner is a Professor of Medieval History at the University of Amsterdam, who has published widely on medieval anti-fraternalism and corporal punishment. His publications include Flogging Others: Corporal Punishment and  Cultural Identity from Antiquity to the Present (Amsterdam University Press, 2014), The Making of Medieval Antifraternalism: Polemic, Violence, Deviance, and Remembrance (Oxford University Press, 2012), and The Medieval Prison: A Social History (Princeton University Press). He is currently in the final stages of work for a new book, Healthscaping Medieval Italy: A Study in Urban Biopower, 1200-1500.

  • Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages Seminar series
  • Speaker: Guy Geltner (Amsterdam)

All staff and students are welcome to attend.