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ANCIENT ‘HOLISM’ in Graeco-Roman medicine and its cultural context - 11-12/09/2017, London (England)

Localisation has always been one of the key modalities, if not the central modality by which we read ancient accounts of human fundamental bodily experiences such as pathology, emotions and mental alteration. The firm identification of a locus affectus, an organ (or a set of organs) involved, or a suffering area of the body is indeed very visible in medical discussions of diseases and disorders, whether strictly physiological or also mental, as well as poetic representations of biological or mental experiences. The alternative modality, that of de-localisation and more generally of an attention to human experiences of the body as diffuse, dynamic and explicitly disjointed from a firm location has received instead much less attention.

This conference brings together scholars of ancient science and philosophy and experts in Graeco-Roman literature and culture to explore the ancient sources against powerful and influential contemporary constructs such as holism, psycho-somatic unity, and systemic approaches to human health, in order to highlight a less scrutinised feature of ancient readings of the body, as well as a strand of modern and contemporary reception of ancient medical ideas.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 11-12/09/2017

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Institute of Clasical Studies, Senate House (London, England)




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Hynek Bartoš (Karls-Universität, Prague), ‘Parts and Wholes in the Hippocratic On Regimen’

Michael Boylan (Marymount University), ‘'Blood Ties': The Unifying Role of Blood in Ancient Medical Explanation’

Sean Coughlin (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), ‘Two Models of Bodily Coherence and Incoherence in Aristotle’s Biology’

Brooke Holmes (Princeton University), ‘Galen on Untaught Nature’

Georgios Kazantzidis (University of Patras), 'Where do emotions reside? Metaphor, embodiment and affective space in Greek and Roman medicine’

Helen King (London), ‘“Treating the patient, not just the disease”: reading ancient medicine in modern holistic medicine’.

Christian Laes (University of Antwerp), ‘A notion of 'Disability' in Latin? Jurists, lexicographers and medical writers’

David Leith (University of Exeter), 'Holism and the Methodists'

Orly Lewis (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), ‘Pain and Pulse as Holistic Symptoms’

Vivian Nutton, ‘Humoralism and the environment’ (public lecture)

Julius Rocca (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), ‘In Health and in Sickness: pneuma as a (qualified) holistic concept in Galen’

Peter Singer (Birkbeck), ‘What do we mean by holism? Galen and beyond’

Chiara Thumiger (University of Warwick), ‚Phrenitis and the localisation of mental life in ancient medicine’

Laurence Totelin (Cardiff University), ‘A Woman in flux: Fluidity and ‘bursting out’ in Hippocratic gynaecology’

Claire Trenery (RHUL), ‘Was Madness a “Mental” Illness?: The Influence of Ancient Ideas About Mind and Body Interaction’

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