Birkbeck Medieval Seminar: Hygiene and Health in the Middle Ages


16 June    
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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The 2023 Birkbeck Medieval Seminar focuses on hygiene in the Middle Ages, considering both attitudes and practices. Contrary to popular perception, this was a subject of great interest to medieval people, who were generally much cleaner than we assume. This interdisciplinary seminar will build on recent studies which have attempted to ‘clean up’ the Middle Ages, showing that medieval Europeans developed sophisticated strategies (informed by a coherent set of beliefs about the relationship between hygiene and health) to keep themselves and their surroundings clean.

It will also consider approaches to and experiences of dirtiness, including the ascetic practices of the medieval clergy and archaeological evidence of parasitic infections. ‘Hygiene and Health in the Middle Ages’ will develop our understanding of medieval personal hygiene and public health, especially as they relate to contemporary ideas about health and medicine.

Our speakers for this event are: Janna Coomans (Utrecht), Katherine Harvey (Birkbeck), Piers Mitchell (Cambridge) and Carole Rawcliffe (UEA)

Register here:

Image: Wiki Commons