New Voices Summer Talk Series + Call for paper

Food, Plants, Remedies and Healing Practices: Women’s Ideas in the History of Medicine

The Summer Term Talk Series 2024, organised by  Dr. Jil Muller, Deputy of the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists, and in cooperation with Dr. Fabrizio Bigotti, director of the Center for the Study of Medicine and the Body in the Renaissance, is dedicated to Women’s Ideas in the History of Medicine.

The first talk will take place on Wednesday, 08.05, at 4.30 pm (CTE).

Everyone is welcome to attend.

To register and to receive the zoom invitation, please send an email to

The whole program:

08.05: Dr. Giulia Guidara (Giunta Centrale per gli Studi Storici, Roma): From Body to Soul: Mental Disorders in Hildegard of Bingen’s Cause et cure

29.05: Jana Schreiber (University of Marburg): Anna Margaretha Wiedemann – A healing woman and her patients in early modern Frankfurt

19.06: Dr. Justin Begley (University of Basel) and Dr. Benjamin Goldberg (University of South Florida, USA): Margaret Cavendish and the Medical Establishment

26.06: Madeleine Sheahan (Yale University): Seasonality and Slaughter: Sourcing Animal-Ingredients in Seventeenth-Century Household Medicine

10.07: Dr. Amalia Cerrito (University of Trento): Female seeds, powers, and bodies: Albert the Great and the vegetal sexuality

For further information on the talks, please have a look at our Webpage.




Women have played integral roles in the history of medicine, often serving as healers, caretakers, midwives and guardians of traditional knowledge surrounding food, plants, remedies, and healing practices. It has always been the woman who looks after and cares for the sick (children, parents, husband), especially in the home. Since the 16th and 17th centuries, this tradition has been increasingly recorded in writing, which today gives us an invaluable insight not only into the household and the life of women, but also into their medical knowledge and the various illnesses and cures. However, women’s writings are often overlooked or marginalized in mainstream narratives because they did not write in the scientific language of Latin, and because their writings were not in the conventional form of a published book. We find their knowledge scattered in recipe or receipt books, in letters, diaries and even in prose or drama. On the one hand, this makes it difficult to research these contributions, and on the other hand, these contributions are often not counted as traditional knowledge, even though they are very often based on traditional knowledge and knowledge transfer.

This call for papers for a collective work seeks to explore and celebrate women’s ideas and experiences in the realm of medicine throughout history, particularly focusing on their roles in shaping the understanding and application of food, plants, remedies, and healing practices.


Topics may include but aren’t limited to:

  • Historical accounts of women healers, herbalists, midwives, and practitioners of traditional medicine
  • Analysis of women’s contributions to medical knowledge, including the identification and use of medicinal plants, foods, botany, geology and mineralogy
  • Study of women’s engagement with natural philosophy/medicine across a range of forms or genres, e.g. receipt/recipe books, poetry, diaries, letters etc.
  • Examination of the intersectionality of gender, race, class, and other identities in shaping women’s roles in medicine
  • Case studies highlighting specific women healers or medical practitioners and their impact on communities and societies
  • Exploration of women’s involvement in medical education, dissemination of medical knowledge, and advocacy for healthcare access
  • Comparative studies across cultures and time periods, highlighting similarities and differences in women’s roles and contributions to medicine
  • Examination of the ways in which women’s knowledge and practices have been co-opted, appropriated, or suppressed within dominant medical systems


Submission Guidelines:

  • Abstracts should be submitted by 30.06.2024.
  • Submissions must be original and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  • Papers should be written in English and adhere to academic standards of research and citation.
  • Abstracts should include a title, author(s) name(s), institutional affiliation(s), contact information, and a brief summary of the proposed paper (250-300 words).
  • Full papers should be between 7,000 to 9,000 words, including references.


Important Dates:

  • Deadline for abstract submission: 30.06.2024
  • Notification of acceptance: 08.07.2024
  • Deadline for full paper submission: 04.11.2024
  • Publication: approx. End of 2025


Contact Information: For inquiries and submissions, please contact Dr. Jil Muller at


Additional Information: This call for papers is open to scholars, researchers, and graduate students with an interest in the history of philosophy, history of medicine, women’s studies, herbalism, and related fields. We encourage interdisciplinary approaches and welcome contributions from diverse perspectives and methodologies.


Join us in uncovering and celebrating the rich history of women’s contributions to medicine and healing practices. We look forward to receiving your submissions!

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