Medicine, Myth and Magic
Description of the conference:
The McGill Centre for Research on Religion (CREOR) graduate student annual conference invites graduate students and emerging scholars to participate in a special edition conference rethinking the relationship between medicine and religion. We invite critical reflections on the complexities and diversity that arises at the crossroads of medicine and religion. We know that since Antiquity medical traditions in Greece, Babylon, Egypt, China and India were intrinsically intertwined with its religious practices. The observation and study of anatomical and mental ailments was not necessarily a distinct science, the lines between medicine, religion, and “magic” remained⎯at times⎯blurry. Myth and ritual were also used to connect the body to sacred spaces. Early modern, and especially post-Enlightenment, thinking sought to bring a clearer divide between medicine and religion. As science and technology progressed it provided the field of medicine with a diagnostic and prognosis system which was purely “rational” and devoid of spiritual beliefs. But the acceptance of this proposition has not been unanimous. Despite the extraordinary advances of post-Enlightenment medicine, both Western and Eastern, does the quest for scientific knowledge leave any room for religious beliefs, traditions and ethics to influence medical practice?
Some questions the conference wishes to consider are: Do Western, Eastern and Indigenous traditions and religions have something to offer in understanding afflictions of the mind and body? Can religious beliefs and scientific methods used by modern medicine ever be reconciled? How has a given tradition’s view of the relationship between medicine and religion evolved over time? What role and influence have religious views had in the history of medical thought? What are the theological and philosophical aspects of the study of the body? How has the relationship between medicine and religion been portrayed in historical, literary, and philosophical writings?
Encouraged topics and themes include, but are not limited to, the following:
- History of medicine and religion
- Theological and philosophical aspects of the medical sciences
- Theology and philosophy of medicine
- Sociology of medical knowledge
- Anthropology of medicine
- Medicine and religion in literature
- Medicine and “fringe” religious traditions (e.g. Hermetic, heretical, “occult”…)
- Iconography: Representations of the healer-prophet or healer-saint in art
- Debates on body and soul informed by medical and theological knowledge
- Spiritualization of physical illness
- Indigenous practices and medicine
- Spiritual and magical healing (e.g. shamanic, taslismanic, etc.)
- Ethics of healing
- Religious ethics and medical practices
- Scriptural Interpretations
Guidelines for proposals:
Please submit a 250 word abstract explaining the topic and main arguments of the paper. All disciplines and fields welcome. Papers must engage in and contribute to the scholarly discourse; works of advocacy or mere summary will not be considered. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. Proposals should include all contact information including institutional affiliation and any technical request such as audio-visual equipment. These proposals as well as any questions or requests for further information should be sent to the following address: email@example.com
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