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Learning to Cut, Bandage and Cure 2

By 7 novembre 2023mars 13th, 20242023, Colloques & Journées d'études

Learning to Cut, Bandage and Cure 2 : Histories of Surgical Training, Skills & Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

27-28 October 2023

Maria Pia Donato (CNRS/IHMC, ENS) and Elaine Leong (UCL)
Elaine Leong (University College London)
Juliette Rigaud (ENS/ED540)

27-28 October 2023
University College London
IAS Forum – South Wing
London WC1

Building on the conference held at ENS Paris in September 2022, this workshop revolves around a number of critical challenges: how can we historicize early modern surgical instruction in the wake of what is being done for medical education? How can texts be replaced into contexts and within reading communities? How did notions and professional ideologies evolve, circulate and were appropriated (or not)? Are instruments a key to reassess the transmission of knowledge and know-how? Where did the process of learning by doing and doing to learn in surgery actually happen?

While excellent studies have illuminated medieval and renaissance learned surgery, the quotidian knowledge cultures of vernacular practitioners warrant further exploration. This is particularly the case for the 16th to 18th centuries, where little scholarly attention has been devoted to surgical education and training. Although scholars agree that surgery was a highly mobile activity, implying different skills and levels of literacy and learning, not much is known about how these were actually acquired by practitioners across their life-course, diverse as they were from the modest bloodletter to the university-trained surgeon. Moreover, the relationship of theory and practice in this branch of medicine that inherently featured a bigger role for manual intervention and was often characterized as the operative part of medicine, remains relatively unproblematized.

The papers presented at the conference in Paris have highlighted our collective interest to reconsider multiple circuits of knowledge transmission and practice, both in the early stages in the education of would-be practitioners, and throughout their professional life. Two main threads have emerged. On one hand, some contributions have focused on surgical training in and for itself, examining books, images, and other learning aids, investigating their role in teaching across diverse environments, particularly hospitals, and questioning the relationship of theory and practice. On the other hand, some papers have used printed and manuscript sources to trace the appropriation of knowledge by diverse audiences within the trade, at different stages in the practitioners’ life, examining the place of textual and experiential knowledge in the practice of surgeons of various stripes. These threads intersect in multiple ways that will be discussed at this workshop in view of a collective publication.


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27th, 2023

9:15-9:30 | Coffee and pastries

9:30-10:20 | Michael Stolberg, Surgical Practice in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century Germany (Chair: Heidi Hausse)

10:30-11:20 | Tillmann Taape, “His Body, His Honour, His Health, and His Handwork”: surgical training in printed books and in the city of artisans (Chair: Elaine Leong)

11:30-12:20 | Maria Pia Donato, “Proficient in Things Surgical and Anatomical”. Transforming surgeons’ apprenticeship in Italian hospitals, 1660-1770 ca. (Chair: Annemarie Kinzelbach)

12:30-1:20 | Lunch (UCL catering, delivered to IAS Forum)

1:30-2:20 | Heidi Hausse, Learning from Disaster: Surgical mishaps and pedagogy in the age of print (Chair: Gideon Manning)

2:30-3:20 | Peter Jones [Zoom], Learning Surgery from Medieval Manuscripts (Chair: Tillmann Taape)

3:30-4:20 | Cindy Klestinec, Surgery and the Artisanal Language of Techne: Leonardo Fioravanti’s Vernacular Readers (Chair: Peter Jones)

4:30-5:20 | Silvia De Renzi, Picturing Gaping Bodies. Images and surgical pedagogy in early modern Rome (Chair: Sandra Cavallo)

7:30 | Conference dinner


9:15-9:30 | Coffee and pastries

9:30-10:20 | Annemarie Kinzelbach, Learning and Teaching Specialized Surgical Practice in the Holy Roman Empire. Families, workshops, hospitals and illustrated manuscripts, 16th and 17th century (Chair: Michael Stolberg)

10:30-11:20 | Sandra Cavallo, Learning to Dress: Italian surgeons and their pharmaceutical knowledge in the 17th Century (Chair: Juliette Rigaud)

11:30-12:20 | Gideon Manning, Experience and Experiment in Early Modern Surgical Practice (Chair: Maria Pia Donato)

12:30-1:20 | Lunch (UCL catering, delivered to IAS Forum)

1:30-2:20 | Elaine Leong, Visualizing Knowledge and Surgical Training in Early Modern London (Chair: Cathy McClive)

2:30-3:20 | Cathy McClive [Zoom], How to Become a Forensic Expert. Learning by doing, master-surgeons, and legal medicine in early modern France (Chair: Silvia De Renzi)

3:30-4:20 | Juliette Rigaud, “Freedom to Learn”: A Provincial Apprentice-Surgeon in Paris at the End of the Eighteenth Century (Chair: Cindy Klestinec)

4:30 | Conference ends

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