Care in the Past: Archaeological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. 6th of October 2012.

full name / name of organization: 
Department of Archaeology, Durham University

One of the major social challenges faced today is the provision of care for the elderly, the disabled and the young within society, with contemporary debates dominating local, national and global agendas. The importance of the study of care has been recognised by all research councils, resulting in the formation of the cross-council programme on Lifelong Health and Well-Being. In addition, the AHRC has highlighted the topic of Care in the Past as one of its four priority themes for current research, stressing the importance of historical knowledge in policy formation. Until recently the study of care has been shied away from in archaeological thought. However, cutting-edge research in both archaeology and bioarchaeology has begun generating questions that implicate care, particularly with regards to the social identity of those who required it. Such research, whilst promising, is still incipient, and the ways in which archaeology can contribute to and interact with other disciplines concerned with historical care have yet to be realised. This conference will contribute to the greater awareness of this emerging research field by allowing engagement between academics and research students from multiple disciplines. As such, we are keen to invite both attendance and participation from individuals from all backgrounds who have an interest in historic notions of care, medicine and treatment.

The structure of the conference will cover three key areas: the young, the elderly, and the disabled, with each session being opened by a leading academic in the field. We invite submission for papers showing original research examining notions and practices of care from all historic periods and disciplines that fit these themes. We particularly welcome interdisciplinary approaches that utilise archaeological evidence alongside other sources. Abstracts should be no more than 500 words and should be submitted to and papers should be no more than 20 minutes.

The deadline for submissions is the 20th July 2012. The authors of accepted papers will be notified by the 3rd August 2012.