4 scalpels and a hernia bistoury, cased, London, early 20th century, military issue.

Wounds and their meaning have differed over time: from the holy wounds of Christ, wounds associated with leprosy and plague, and healed wounds manifesting in scars and permanent disfigurement. The conception and function of wounds as religious symbols, medical signs or metaphorical devices has depended on social and historical contexts. Over this two-day workshop we hope to further a discussion on the varied understandings of wounds and wounding across history by bringing museum professionals and academics from different periods and disciplines together.

The format of the workshop will be a series of panels, discussions and exclusive access to the Science Museums extensive medical collections not currently on display. There will be a guided tour of Blythe House, one of the Science Museum object stores where large parts of the Wellcome Medical History Collection permanent loan to the Science Museum is housed. A selection of papers from from this workshop are to be published in a issue of the Science Museum Group Journal. Registration is free and lunch will be provided on both days. We will endeavour to cover travel costs for student and unwaged delegates. There will be a conference dinner at delegates’ own expense.

We welcome abstracts on topics related to wounds and wounding in any period from Middle Ages to the Boer War from any geographical area.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Developments in wound care (surgical innovation during war, academic, scholastic, or educational changes)
  • Wound care and medical practitioners (surgeons, barbers, apothecaries, doctors, nurses)
  • Domestic wound care and/or home remedies
  • Conception of wounds and wounding in medical text and literature
  • Descriptions and representations of wounds in medical text and literature
  • Physical and mental wounds
  • Representations of wounds and wounding in images and literature
  • Wounds as metaphor or simile
  • Wounds in religious practice, theory and representation
  • Wounds to the body politic and social wounds
  • The use of wounds and wounding in political or ideological discourse


The deadline for submission of abstracts is 01 December 2017 (please note new date). Please submit a short abstract (max 300 words) and a short biography (max 150 words) to Sara Stradal.

If you have any questions and queries, please do not hesitate to contact Sara, as above.


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Centre for Medical Humanities
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