Early modern Spain was a global empire in which an astonishing variety of medical cultures came into contact and occasionally conflict, with one another. Spanish soldiers, ambassadors, sailors, missionaries and emigrants of all types carried with them to the farthest reaches of the monarchy their own ideas about sickness and health. These ideas were, then, influenced by local cultures. This volume narrates the story of encounters among medical cultures in the early modern Spanish empire. The twelve chapters draw upon a broad variety of sources, ranging from drama, poetry, and sermons to broadsheets, chronicles, travel accounts, and Inquisitorial documents; and it surveys a tremendous regional scope, from Mexico to the Canary Islands, the Iberian Peninsula, Germany, and Italy. Together, these essays offer a new interpretation of the circulation, reception, appropriation, and elaboration of ideas and practices related to sickness and health, monstrosity, sex, and death, in a historical moment marked by continuous cross-pollination among institutions and populations with a decided stake in the functioning and control of the human body. Finally, the volume reveals how medical cultures provided demographic, analytical, and even geographic tools that constituted a special kind of map of knowledge and practice, upon which were plotted: the local utilities of pharmacological discoveries; cures for social unrest or decline; spaces for political and institutional struggle; and progressing understandings of monstrousness and normativity. Medical Cultures of the Early Modern Spanish Empire, (PDF) puts the history of early modern Spanish medicine on a new standing in the English-speaking world.
“The ebook is drawn together in an epilogue by William Eamon. He points out that Spain was different to the rest of Europe, but that Spain also made a difference to the broader scientific revolution that occurs in the Renaissance. In summary, this ebook encourages readers to explore a broader genre of source materials than is conventionally the case.” — Robert Weston, The University of Western Australia
“The essays are geographically and topically diverse, extending from Spaniards among humanist circles in mid-sixteenth-century Trent to a natural history of hypertrichosis to a study of astrological medicine in Golden Age drama. This diversity brings to the discussion more actors and more voices whose concerns with the human body highlight rivalry and collaboration across political, legal, religious, literary, and medical frameworks…This volume successfully serves to open communications within the field, to bring together isolated voices from different disciplines from medicine to theater to politics, and to pose new questions about early modern Spanish medicine.” — Michele L. Clouse, Ohio University, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Vol 90:1
“The ebook’s core accomplishment is to bring forward a diverse range of medical representations offered through an eclectic consideration of narrative texts ranging from the imagined to the scientific… the chapters are unified by a consistent awareness of the need for deep interdisciplinary engagement with the formation of discourses about medicine within the early modern Spanish Empire. Overall, the ebook is a fine contribution to scholarship which could profitably be emulated in other fields of cultural, Empire, and medical humanities in order to close the gaps in our understanding of the perspectives, stories and experiences of colonized peoples and their numerous medical cultures.” — Chisomo Kalinga, University of Edinburgh, British Society for Literature and Science
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