Air has always had an influence on the health of individuals, societies, cities, and nations. From Hippocrates’s belief that air affected the human body to Victorian medical theories on tropical climates and bad air as the source of disease, air was understood to have a direct effect on health and to be a cause of illness.

With the advent of modern medicine, the role of air’s impact on human health has shifted, but remains present. For instance, current concerns about air pollution and respiratory disease, as well as the role climate change is playing on the health of ecosystems and nations, demonstrate the continued significance of air’s relationship to health. The Cultural Histories of Air and Illness Conference will span disciplines and periods to explore broadly the connections between health and the environment, and the ways in which this relationship has been constructed, debated, and disseminated.

The keynote speakers are Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan University): Dangerous Exposures: Work and Waste in the Victorian Chemical Trade, and Richard Hamblyn (Birkbeck, University of London): The Weather in the Streets: Historical Perspectives on Urban Meteorology. The full programme is available here.

The conference will be held at Millburn House, University of Warwick. There is a registration fee of £30 (£20 for students) which includes all coffee/tea breaks, lunches, and a wine reception. Please complete the online registration form if you would like to attend.

For enquiries, please email the conference organizer, Dr Amanda Sciampacone.

The conference is generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust, and the University of Warwick’s Humanities Research Centre and Department of History of Art.



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