Hippocrates sans frontières - call for papers

Hippocrates sans frontières, an international conference on foreign physicians in Europe during the nineteenth century that takes place in 15-16 November 2018 in Paris, France.

Without refusing to consider propositions focusing on related subjects, the advisory board would like for the contributions, as much as is possible, to fall within the following four areas of research:

-        studying medicine abroad: student itinerancy;

-        authorizing and supervising: foreign practitioners grappling with host country legislation;

-        treating in colonial lands;

-        practicing medicine on one’s compatriots: the medicine of the diaspora.

Studies focusing on countries other than France are particularly welcome. The board is open to approaches on the national level and over the longue durée, as well as more micro-historical research on the individual or collective careers of doctors. The gender of medical staff or of their patients could be a pertinent angle of approach. Finally, the primary geographical areas involved will be Europe and its spaces of colonial expansion, however the migrations of Europeans across the Atlantic could be considered, as could the presence or the practice of non-European doctors in Europe. For more information, see: .

Calendar and practical information:

Paper proposals (title, summary of one page maximum, brief CV) should be sent in French, English, Italian, or Spanish to the organizers before February 15, 2018. They will be examined and evaluated by the advisory board. Proposers will be notified if their proposal is selected by February 28, 2018. The papers can be presented at the conference in French, English, Italian, or Spanish, and should be accompanied by a slide show in another language (French or English) for broader general understanding. They will last 30 minutes, including questions.

Paper proposals should be sent to the following address:



Global and transdisciplinary perspectives on sanitary cordons throughout history 

2nd International Conference of the Quarantine Studies Network

7-8 November 2018

Hosted by the University of the Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca

Abstracts can be submitted until 15 November 2017 to

Sanitary cordons to regulate and control the spread of bubonic plague were developed in Italy in the 14th century in parallel with maritime quarantine (mainly lazarettos) and came to be quickly imposed by other Mediterranean/European countries. Today, various types of cordons are still being used ‘to control the spread of epizootics and to mitigate the impact of both newly emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases upon the human population’ (Cliff, 2009) with the 21st-century pandemics of Ebola or avian flu showing their continued utility. At this juncture one finds a stunning paradox: despite their functions as instruments of isolation/separation, sanitary cordons came to be highly appreciated, legitimized and defended by state authorities and frequently by the populations themselves. By the 1800s, they had already been accepted and utilized in most countries of the world.

The success of sanitary cordons was also measured by their widespread adoption across various social and cultural domains. Thus, sanitary cordons became inseparable from military and political demarcations of territorial borders especially, but by no means exclusively, at the state level. Well-known cases include the cordon set-up against the plague in the Austrian-Ottoman border as from 1770; the so called ‘yellow fever cordon’ set up in the Catalan sector of the French-Spanish border in 1822; and the one established against cholera on the Ottoman-Persian frontier during the 1850s. The concept of the ‘common good’ via the preservation of public health was also used as an argument to legitimize, consolidate and militarize borders through the setting up of cordons. On the other hand, as sanitary cordons were set up to separate healthy sectors of a community – or indeed whole populations – from others considered sick, they were directly involved in processes of nation-building, international conflict or colonial domination. Sanitary cordons helped to define and ‘protect’ national identities and, at the same time, ‘isolate’ and control various provincial, national and colonial ‘others’. This was legitimized through old and new medical theories, scientific discourse or just pure prejudice or a combination of all these.

Sanitary cordons were also successfully ‘translated’ into the fields of politics and diplomacy, where the concept has been employed metaphorically to refer to attempts to prevent the spread of an ideology or another deemed dangerous to the international or the social order. For example, in 1917, the French minister of Foreign Affairs employed such a term to designate the new states (Finland, the Baltic republics, Poland and Romania) established along the Western border of the USSR (as buffer states) against the spread of the Bolshevist revolution into Central and Western Europe. Besides geography, politics and diplomacy, personal narratives of sanitary cordons became a sort of subgenre in modern literature, where they have also been used as metaphors to deal with issues of social control, identity/alterity or dystopic futures.

Incorporating all these perspectives and seeking papers with original research approaches, this conference wants to explore sanitary cordons throughout history to the present as they were put in place and employed in different parts of the globe and different social and cultural domains. Topics to be addressed could include, among others:

  • Origins and development of sanitary cordons for the prevention of epidemics throughout history to the present: concepts, practices, regulations, global expansion, unknown or understudied historical cases throughout the world.
  •  Patterns of sanitary cordons throughout history and in different regions/countries of the world.
  •  Sanitary cordons as border sites of negotiation and/or resistance.
  • Pre-modern and non-European forms of isolation/separation of diseased groups or communities from the rest in all their diversity (and cultural specificities).
  • Literary narratives recounting eye-witness accounts/experience of cordons or employing the metaphor ‘sanitary cordons’ on issues of identity and otherness, liminality, movement/migration, global inequality, and so on.
  •  Memorialization: sanitary cordons in the collective imaginaries, shared memories, material culture/heritage sites, lieux de mémoire.
  •   Sanitary cordons and the construction, and expansion, of early-modern/modern borders of states, provinces or any other territorial demarcations.
  •  Place of non-human creatures and organisms (animals, plants, substances) within cordons.
  •   Juridical, ethical, humanitarian and religious issues raised by the use of cordons in public health, war, political struggle, migration control, and human rights.
  •  Sanitary cordons and science: particularly the connections between contagionism and hygiene, as well as the part played by novel advances in medicine – bacteriology.
  • Relations with power: effective sanitary cordons and types of state projections of power (national sovereignty, central administrative state development, Imperial/colonial state power).
  • Connections between cordons and other forms of quarantine, isolation hospitals and the public health systems. Sanitary cordons and western medicalization of society: surveillance and disciplinary processes. 

Call for papers: Health Histories: The Next Generation

Society for the Social History of Medicine Postgraduate Conference 2017
In cooperation with the University of Strathclyde and Shanghai University
Funded by the Wellcome Trust

Health Histories: The Next Generation
12-13 October 2017
Shanghai University, China

The Society for the Social History of Medicine periodically hosts an international conference for postgraduate students. The 2017 conference committee welcomes papers on any topic within the discipline of the social history of medicine and particularly encourage proposals for papers and panels that critically examine or challenge some aspect of the history of medicine and health. We welcome a range of methodological approaches, geographical regions, and time periods.

Proposals should be based on new research from postgraduate students currently registered in a University programme. Paper submissions should include a 250-word abstract, including five key words and a short (1-page) CV. Panel submissions should feature three papers (each with a 250-word abstract, including five key words, and a short CV), a chair, and a 100-word panel abstract.

For postgraduate students not currently funded through an existing fellowship or grant, funding is available to cover the costs associated with visas, travel, and accommodation in Shanghai. Upon confirmation of an accepted abstract, each postgraduate student is required to apply for a visa to travel to China.

All postgraduate delegates must register (or already be registered) as members of the Society for the Social History of Medicine.

More information about SSHM student membership

Submissions and queries should be sent to Caroline Marley:

Conference Organizers:
Dr Stephen Mawdsley, University of Strathclyde
Professor Yong-an Zhang, Shanghai University

Abstract Deadline: 10 March 2017

Call for papers: Ninth Day of Historical Demography, Diseases, Causes of Death and the Epidemiological Transition

This call invites paper proposals pertaining to this broad theme and welcomes contributions from historians, sociologists, demographers, epidemiologists, public health specialists etc. Preferably, paper proposals will be on the following topics: the epidemiological transitions in time and space; disease categorizations; case studies of diseases and epidemiological changes; mortality patterns for one specific cause of death or category of causes of death (e.g. tuberculosis, cholera, smallpox, malaria, coronary diseases, suicide, etc.); social, economic, cultural and/or political aspects of morbidity and cause-specific mortality differentiation; spatial analysis of morbidity and cause-specific mortality; health systems and policies in the past. Obviously, other topics may be suggested as well.

  • Paper proposals (in English) should be sent to no later than 31 May 2016. Notifications of acceptance of papers will be emailed during the month of June. For general inquiries:

Call for papers:  Accounting for Health:Economic Practices and Medical Knowledge, 1500–1970

How has accounting historically shaped health and medicine? What variety of roles have other economic practices played in everyday medical knowing? And, as all accounting used to take place on paper, (how) have past material practices of collecting data, writing and information determined the ways in which medical and economic knowing could influence one another?

In 2016-2017, the ERC Research Group PAPERTECH will organise three workshops in Berlin to explore these and similar questions as part of the Working Group ‘Accounting for Health. Economic Practices and Medical Knowledge, 1500-1970’.

A History of Quarantine Network

A History of Quarantine Network has been established by members of the EAHMH. Their new website can be found here:  

Their inaugural conference will be held in Nov. 2014 in Malta. Please visit their website for more information about their conference, 'The Mediterranean under quarantine'

Plans of the lazaretto of Varignano at La Spezia, c.1825 


New Journal for Disaster Nursing

A new journal for disaster nursing has been launched and they have just issued their first call for papers; historians of medicine welcomed to contribute

Newsletter November 2013

The EAHMH’s Newsletter is fresh off the press. The inaugural issue contains a greeting from our new President and other information which should interest members.

EAHMH Conference 2013

The conference was held in Lisbon, Portugal, 4-7 September 2013. The conference was on the theme of 'Risk and Disaster in Health and Medicine' and was co-organised by the Universities of Evora and Lisbon.

The EAHMH 2013 Book Award

The EAHMH are delighted to announce the second winner of the EAHMH Book Award. The prize of €3000 (granted through the generous support of the Dutch Stichting Historia Medicinae and the German Robert Bosch Stiftung) was awarded to Alun Withey for his book Physick and the Family: Health, Medicine and Care in Wales, c.1600-1750, published by Manchester University Presss. For further details on the prize, please click here.

Alun Withey receiving his prize from EAHMH President, Laurinda Abreu

The Pieter van Foreest Student Prize

The Lisbon conference also marked the presentation of the second Pieter van Foreest Student Prize. A prize of 500 EUR (generously supported by the Dutch foundation Stichting Historia Medicinae) was awarded to the best paper presented by a PhD student at the conference. The winner of the 2013 Noortje Jacobs from the University of Maastricht for her paper, 'Rick as Moral Obligation'. The Scientific Board also commended two further papers of excellent quality by Michael Figueria de Sousa (University of Coimbra) and Nils Kessel (DHVS). For more information on the prize, click here.

Noortje Jacobs with her prize

Publication from an EAHMH Conference

An edited collection, drawing together some of the papers given at the 2007 EAHMH conference in London has recently been published. Environment, Health and History, edited by Virginia Berridge and Martin Gorsky of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, brings together a wide temporal range of historical analysis examining the relationship, sometimes distant, and sometimes close, between concerns about the environment and about health. For further details, click here.