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Premodern Disability Bibliography

Stay tuned for annotations and additional entries.

Cross-Period Premodern Disability Scholarship

Ancient and Classical Disability (up to 500 C.E.)

Medieval/Post-Classical Disability (500 C.E. to 1500 C.E.)

Early Modern/Early Global Disability (1500 to later 1600s)

Long-Eighteenth-Century Disability

Premodern and Modern Disability in Conversation

Key Works in Disability Studies as a Broader Field

Sources compiled and annotated by Bridget Bartlett,expanded and revised from an initial list by Bellee Jones-Pierce, Lindsey Row-Heyveld, and James Nysse.

Websites and Organizations

Asterion: Celebrating Neurodiversity in Classics
“Asterion aims to help neurodivergent people in Classics in three areas: support, resources and community.”

Centre for the Study of Medicine and the Body in the Renaissance
“The Centre for the Study of Medicine and the Body in the Renaissance (CSMBR) … carries on the scientific legacy of the Italian physician, philosopher philosopher, scientist, and inventor Santorio Santori (1561-1636) and it furthers the values of Medical Humanism and the advancement of scientific knowledge as inspired by the intellectual, cultural and social development of the European Medical Renaissance (1300-1700).”

“CripAntiquity is an international advocacy organization for disabled and neurodivergent students, teachers, scholars, staff, artists, and writers in ancient studies. Our mission is to combat ableism by amplifying disabled and neurodivergent perspectives; creating resources that will empower individuals and transform institutions; and fostering community among our members.”

Cultures of Disability, Past and Present
“We explore the cultures of disability and the experiences of disabled people throughout history and in the present. Based at Manchester Metropolitan University, we include academics, activists and practitioners from different disciplines.”

Disability History and the Ancient World
“This website tries to bring together all scholars dealing with disability history of the ancient world. Quite contrary to disability studies for other periods, research into this subject has just begun to develop and specialists are few.”

Disability Studies and Mad Studies Working Group (Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine)
“This working group in disability studies and mad studies provides a forum for scholars from around the world and in a number of different disciplines to come together to share their work. It is also meant to provide people who are new to the fields with an entry point into key work in the fields. The group is open to specialists and non-specialists, and interested students. The group will discuss works in progress and published works, and it will provide a forum for specialists to lead seminars and give lectures in their area of expertise. The history of science, technology, and medicine is critically important in disability studies and mad studies, but students and scholars from those areas of study rarely have the opportunity to engage with one another’s work in ways that are both meaningful and lasting. This working group will begin to remedy that situation by providing a virtual forum for students and scholars to come together to share their work and have conversations with one another.”

History of Disease, Disability & Medicine in Medieval Europe
“This research blog aim to promote this filed of research in France and in Europe and will make sure to share latest publishing events, future meeting (such as conference, colloquium, round table), and to relay call for paper or contribution on disability in pre-modern societies, with particular focus on Middle Ages.”

History of Learning Disability
“We are a group of academics researching the history of learning disability, the history of intellectual disability, and the history of developmental disability.”

Premodern Healthscaping
“Premodern Healthscaping houses two research projects, run by separate teams.
‘Healthscaping Urban Europe’ is based at the University of Amsterdam and brings together historians and archaeologists based in Europe. Team details here.
‘Public Health in the Preindustrial World’ is based out of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. It gathers historians, (bio)archaeologists and religionists across Europe, the US, India, and Australia. Team details here.”

“ReMeDHe (pronounced “Remedy”) is a working group for Religion, Medicine, Disability, Health, and Healing in Late Antiquity. … many of us … have been building a community to track and coordinate our research projects, to provide feedback on works-in-progress, and to explore potential avenues for collaboration. Co-Directors of the ReMeDHe working group, Kristi Upson-Saia (Occidental College) and Heidi Marx (formerly Marx-Wolf, University of Manitoba), along with the ReMeDHe Board, are working on creating opportunities for conversation and collaboration.”

Society for the Study of Disability in the Middle Ages
“The Society for the Study of Disability in the Middle Ages is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of medieval disease, disability, injury, illness, and impairment within their social context.” Supervised by administrator Kisha Tracy of Fitchburg State University.

UK Disability History and Heritage Hub
“The UK Disability History and Heritage Hub is a small group, created by PhD students with links to the heritage industry. We felt there was space for a network to allow those interested in Disabled, Neurodiverse, and D/deaf histories, from the ancient world to the modern era, to connect and collaborate. This hub is open to researchers, students, archivists, museum professionals, activists and anyone in-between!”

Uncommon Bodies
“Uncommon Bodies: Research in Early Modern Literature and Culture (Twitter: @uncommonbodies) is a research workshop and reading group. It was founded in 2019 by Penelope Geng and Jennifer E. Row. The workshop focuses on questions and readings related to the human body–how it’s imagined, experienced, and represented–in early modern cultures.”

Other Resources

External Resources