Organizing the World of Healing Goods: Materia Medica, Pharmacopeias, and the Codification of Therapeutic Knowledge in the Early Modern World
Call for Papers
Matthew Crawford, Kent State University
Joseph Gabriel, University of Wisconsin, Madison
We seek proposals for papers related to the theme of materia medica, national pharmacopeias, and the scientific, economic, and political organization of therapeutic knowledge in the early modern world. In particular, we are interested in papers that examine the role of pharmacopeias in the creation and organization of scientific knowledge about materia medica and pharmaceuticals from the late fifteenth to early nineteenth centuries. The establishment and promulgation of pharmacopeias by municipal, national and imperial governments during this period can be understood as efforts to standardize knowledge and practice under normative frameworks that worked to advance state interests as well as imperial and national aspirations. As such, these efforts inevitably confronted local forms of epistemic and therapeutic diversity, both in their efforts to consolidate this diversity under unified regimes of knowledge and in the fact that such diversity itself impacted the scope and direction of these efforts. At the same time, efforts to establish and promulgate pharmacopoeias grew out of the extension of imperial power, the global circulation of therapeutic goods, the development of transnational networks of knowledge and authority, and other complex dynamics. Efforts to establish and promote pharmacopoeias thus took place at the intersection of the local and the national, the center and the periphery, “traditional knowledge” and “modern science,” and other binaries that we use to understand the past.
Authors of accepted proposals will be invited to present pre-circulated drafts of their papers at a workshop to be held at the University of Madison, Madison, on April 1-2, 2016. Funding for travel to Madison and lodging will be available to participants who do not have access to institutional support. We expect that the workshop will lead to the publication of an edited volume on the topic by a university press. A small honorarium will be provided to each participant upon receipt of the final version of accepted papers. The organizers encourage submissions by scholars both in the United States and in other parts of the world, as well as submissions from independent scholars, graduate students, and other groups underrepresented in academic and scholarly publishing.