Philippa Carter, “Diseased brains and diseased souls in Reformation England” (15/12)

In Mystical Bedlam: The World of Madmen (1615), the Calvinist preacher Thomas Adams warned his readers that “there is a double madnesse, corporal and spirituall. That obsesseth the braine, this the heart”. Adams develops this extended simile throughout his sermons. Yet similes depend on points of difference as well as likeness. Focusing on the latter, Adams treats the difference between ‘corporal’ and ‘spiritual’ madness as though it were simply self-evident. For many of his contemporaries, however, it was not. Madness was troubling precisely because it seemed to afflict the whole person, including the rational faculties traditionally attributed to the soul. This paper explores English theologians’ attempts to disentangle soul, mind and brain in the aftermath of the Reformation. 

Philippa Carter is a historian of early modern medicine, natural philosophy, and religion. She is Assistant Professor in the History of Medicine and Health before 1800 at the History and Philosophy of Science Department, Cambridge, and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College. She is currently working on a first monograph, provisionally entitled Phrenitis: Madness, Brain Disease and the Soul in Early Modern England.

Jane Humphries, ‘“The best job in the world”: breadwinning and the capture of household labour in 19th and early 20th-century British coal mining’ (8/12)

Jeudi 8 décembre 2022 à 17h (salle D421 à Serpente) :

Jane Humphries (Oxford / LSE ), ‘“The best job in the world”: breadwinning and the capture of household labour in 19th and early 20th-century British coal mining’

This paper, written with Ryah Thomas, explores the effects of gender inequality and women’s disempowerment in the context of historical coalmining. Across the US and Europe, ex-coalmining regions are characterized by significant deprivation. While there are many reasons for persistent problems, this study focuses on the restrictions imposed on women’s involvement in economic life. Families in mining communities exemplified the male breadwinner structure, in which men’s earnings supported wives and children who provided domestic services in return. This article, however, exposes a different reality of household economics and relations of dominance and subordination: All family members were integrated into the coalmining production process and the creation of profit. Women’s unpaid work did not simply provide domestic comfort; it transferred well-being from women and children to men and simultaneously contributed to the colliery companies’ profits. These findings revise accounts of mining families while providing insight into the intransigence of deprivation in ex-coalmining areas.