vendredi 31 août 2012

le droit des handicapés




A shift in development thinking and policy in the 1970s alongside greater participation of INGOs and the emergence of local NGOs contributed to the growth of social justice movements, raising issues of ethnicity, gender, disability etc. Particularly the women’s movement, the presence of international agencies which provided more space for (political) mobilisation of marginalised groups and the UN Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-92) facilitated the rise of the disability rights movement in the 1980s and 90s across the world: Responding to exclusion and discrimination, activists with disabilities formed groups to claim their political, legal and social objectives, increasingly adopting a rights-based approach. Organisations of persons with disabilities at national and international levels reached the potential to increase awareness on disability rights and promote political and social change. In the 1990s, international influences and access to networking, funding & information for these groups and organisations increased in the context of globalisation. In 2006, the adoption of the CRPD created additional vital momentum, stipulating the role of organisations of persons with disabilities as a driving force in the promotion and monitoring of the rights of persons with disabilities and their participation in development planning & policy making.

Given the complexity and diversity of the issue, the likelihood of forming groups in general and cross-disability umbrellas in particular hasn’t been a simple possibility: Disability cuts across ethnicity, gender, age, class divisions etc. Persons with disabilities are a highly diverse group, e.g. in terms of their impairment and the environment they live in, with equally heterogeneous experiences and needs. Likewise, groups and organisations of persons with disabilities vary in terms of their mandate and approach, their members / membership and their advocacy strategies. In addition, the movement in the different countries and its influence are shaped by ideological influences, the social and political contexts and local opportunities and challenges, which present both the background and stimulus.
It is in this diversity context that this issue aims to illuminate the chequered and multifaceted history of the disability rights movement and self-advocacy of persons with disabilities in low income countries from a local, national or regional perspective, including their origins, history, developments and achievements as well as current challenges. This may include contributions on the following aspects:
  • The origins and history of national self-advocacy in the context of social, political and economic dynamics
  • Political identity of the disability rights movement & groups and organisations of persons with disabilities
  • DPOs’ role and potential in the context of the objectives and the implementation of the CRPD
  • The disability rights movement – Equality and recognition of diversities
  • Disability rights movement and democratization
  • The disability rights movement in the context of other social justice and human rights movements
  • Role of transnational discourses on disability rights and self-advocacy
  • DPOs between advocacy and service provision
Should you have other relevant topics in mind, please contact us with your suggestions.


Papers without explicit development links cannot be accepted. We refer to “development” as capturing issues around so-called developing countries/low-income countries and development cooperation.
We strongly suggest that you read the journal’s Information for Authors first ( – left column: “Information for Authors”) and then contact the coordinating editor for this issue.
Deadline for submission of papers: September 30, 2012, please in soft copy to

Histoire des émotions

A History of Emotions, 1200-1800 

Jonas Lilequist (Editor)

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Éditeur: Pickering & Chatto Ltd (31 août 2012)
  • Langue: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848933568
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848933569

The history of emotions is an expanding field of research. The essays in this collection examine emotional responses to art and music, the role of emotions in contemporary notions of gender and sexuality and theoretical questions as to their use. Bringing together a series of case studies from points across the medieval and early modern periods, the authors in this volume provide fascinating glimpses into human emotional experience across a variety of cultures.

Introduction – Jonas Liliequist
Part I: Theoretical Issues
1 Theories of Change in the History of Emotions – Barbara H Rosenwein
2 Ottoman Love: Preface to a Theory of Emotional Ecology – Walter Andrews
Part II: Emotional Repertoires
3 Preachers, Saints and Sinners: Emotional Repertoires in High Medieval Religious Role Models – Christina Lutter
4 Theology and Interiority: Emotions as Evidence of the Working of Grace in Elizabethan and Stuart Conversion Narratives – Paola Baseotto
5 'Finer' Feelings: Sociability, Sensibility and the Emotions of Gens de Lettres in Eighteenth-Century France – Anne C Vila
Part III: Music and Art
6 Music as Wonder and Delight: Construction of Gender in Early Modern Opera through Musical Representation and Arousal of Emotions – Johanna Ethnersson Pontara
Politesse and Sprezzatura: A History of the Emotions in the Painted Musical Images of Antoine Watteau – Pamela W Whedon
Part IV: Gender, Sexuality and the Body
8 Emotions and Gender: The Case of Anger in Early Modern English Revenge Tragedies – Kristine Steenbergh
9 Beauty, Masculinity and Love between Men: Configuring Emotions with Michael Drayton's Piers Gaveston – Anu Korhonen
10 'Pray, Dr, is there Reason to Fear a Cancer?' Fear of Breast Cancer in Early Modern Britain – Marjo Kaartinen
Part V: Uses of Emotions
11 The Little Girl Who Could Not Stop Crying: The Use of Emotions as Signifiers of True Conversion in Eighteenth-Century Greenland – Allan Sortkær
12 The Political Rhetoric of Tears in Early Modern Sweden – Jonas Liliequist

Les épidémies

Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600 with Frank Snowden

This course consists of an international analysis of the impact of epidemic diseases on western society and culture from the bubonic plague to HIV/AIDS and the recent experience of SARS and swine flu. Leading themes include: infectious disease and its impact on society; the development of public health measures; the role of medical ethics; the genre of plague literature; the social reactions of mass hysteria and violence; the rise of the germ theory of disease; the development of tropical medicine; a comparison of the social, cultural, and historical impact of major infectious diseases; and the issue of emerging and re-emerging diseases

jeudi 30 août 2012

Histoire de la gestion de la grippe

Influenza: A Century of Science and Public Health Response

 George Dehner is associate professor of history at Wichita State University.
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (April 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082296189X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822961895
In 1976, the outbreak of a new strain of swine flu at the Fort Dix, New Jersey, army base prompted an unprecedented inoculation campaign. Some forty-two million Americans were vaccinated as the National Influenza Immunization Program hastened to prevent a pandemic, while the World Health Organization (WHO) took a wait-and-see approach. Fortunately, the virus did not spread, and only one death occurred. But instead of being lauded, American actions were subsequently denounced as a “fiasco” and instigator of mass panic. In Influenza, George Dehner examines the wide disparity in national and international responses to influenza pandemics, from the Russian flu of 1889 to the swine flu outbreak in 2009. He chronicles the technological and institutional progress made along the way and shows how these developments can shape an effective future policy. Early pandemic response relied on methods of quarantine and individual scientific research. In the aftermath of World War II, a consensus for cooperation and shared resources led to the creation of the WHO, under the auspices of the United Nations. Today, the WHO maintains a large and proactive role in responding to influenza outbreaks. International pandemic response, however, is only as strong as its weakest national link—most recently evidenced in the failed early detection of the 2009 swine flu in Mexico and the delayed reporting of the 2002 SARS outbreak in China. As Dehner’s study contends, the hard lessons of the past highlight the need for a coordinated early warning system with full disclosure, shared technologies, and robust manufacturing capabilities. Until the “national” aspect can be removed from the international equation, responses will be hampered, and a threat to an individual remains a threat to all.



Soutenance E. Bovet

 Soutenance de thèse 

Madame Emilie BOVET 
Sociologue diplômée de l’Université de Lausanne 
soutiendra en vue de l’obtention du grade de Docteure ès sciences de la vie de l’Université de Lausanne, sa thèse intitulée : 

Biographie du diencéphale. 
Revisiter l'histoire de la psychiatrie à travers le parcours d'une zone cérébrale 

Directeurs de thèse : 
Professeur Vincent BARRAS 
Professeur Francesco PANESE 

Cette soutenance aura lieu le 
Lundi 10 septembre 2012 à 17h00 
à l’Auditoire Beaumont, CHUV – Hôpital Beaumont, 
Avenue de Beaumont 29, 1011 Lausanne 

L’entrée est publique. 

Congrès canadien

The Canadian Society for the History of Medicine and the Canadian Association for the History of Nursing are issuing a call for papers for their annual meeting, to be held jointly in conjunction with the Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Victoria, on Saturday 1 June to Monday 3 June 2013.  Abstracts on all topics relating to the history of nursing, medicine, health, and health care, broadly defined, are welcome.
Please submit your abstract (maximum 350 words) and one-page c.v. for consideration by 30 November 2012 to:
Kristin Burnett and Jayne Elliott, program co-chairs /
The Committee will notify applicants of its decision by 15 January 2013.  All presenters must be members of one of the societies and, if invited to present at the meeting, must to provide a translation of their abstract for the bilingual program book.  
La Société canadienne d’histoire de la médecine et l’Association canadienne pour l’histoire du nursing lancent un appel à communications à l’occasion de leur congrès annuel, qui se tiendra conjointement dans le cadre du Congrès des sciences sociales et humaines, le samedi 1er juin au lundi 3 juin 2013 à l’Université Victoria.
Les propositions de communication (maximum 350 mots) sur l’histoire des infirmiers et des infirmières, de la médecine, de la santé et des soins de santé et comportant un CV d’une page seulement de l’auteur-e devront parvenir aux organisatrices avant le 30 novembre 2012.
Kristin Burnett et Jayne Elliott, comité organisateurs /
Le comité fera connaître sa décision avant le 15 janvier 2013. Veuillez noter que chaque auteur-e invité-e à participer au congrès doit être membre de l’une des deux sociétés hôtes et devra soumettre le résumé de sa communication dans les deux langues.

mercredi 29 août 2012


Règles et dérèglements en milieu clos (VIe-XIXe siècle)

Deuxième colloque international du projet de recherche « Enfermements »

Jeudi 04 octobre 2012  |  Clairvaux (10 310) | Troyes (10 000)

« Les univers clos (monastères, prisons, asiles, hôpitaux…) sont des univers puissamment réglés, où doit régner l’obéissance. Ils sont également des lieux où les dérèglements sont multiples. Pourtant, les rapports entre règles, obéissance et dérèglements sont complexes et échappent à des dichotomies simples telles que l’opposition entre discipline et résistance. Avec un regard résolument diachronique, le deuxième colloque du projet Enfermements tentera d’analyser ces rapports en explorant plus particulièrement quatre thématiques :
Il visera tout d’abord à interroger la nature des règles monastiques et celle des règlements pénitentiaires. Qu’est-ce qu’une règle de vie en milieu fermé et quelle est sa consistance juridique et morale ?
Il analysera ensuite les modalités du développement réglementaire et ses procédures d’écriture afin d’interroger la fonctionnalité, la diversité et les évolutions des règles. En quoi et pourquoi faut-il réglementer la vie en communauté ? Quelle est l’autorité des règles et des règlements, leur durée de vie et leur champ d’application ?
Seront également abordées la mise en œuvre des règles et règlements ainsi que les pratiques à travers lesquelles est produite l’obéissance. En examinant la place des institutions et des hommes en charge de faire respecter la règle, on tentera de dépasser la relation bipolaire entre enfermés et détenteurs de l’autorité, et de prendre en compte les formes de coopération ou de consensus s’instaurant entre eux.
Enfin le colloque étudiera les dérèglements et les écarts à la règle que connaissent les cloîtres et les prisons depuis l’époque médiévale. Ces dérèglements mettent en lumière et à l’épreuve les valeurs attachées à l’enfermement, les conditions de vie enfermée et les usages sociaux de l’enfermement. La clôture produit-elle des dérèglements propres et la violence n’apparaît-elle pas comme une ressource à la disposition de tous, enfermés et surveillants, religieux et supérieurs ?


Jeudi 4 octobre - Clairvaux, Hostellerie des dames

Introduction du colloque, 9h30

  • Isabelle Heullant-DonatJulie ClaustreElisabeth Lusset, Falk Bretschneider

Matinée - Nature de la règle et des règlements

  • Valentina Toneatto (Université de Rennes 2), Des règles à géométrie variable: pouvoir de l’abbé et modulation de la règle dans le monachisme entre Antiquité et haut Moyen Âge.
  • Emanuele Coccia (E.H.E.S.S.), La norme biographique : les règles monastiques entre évangiles et loi positive.
  • Florent Cygler (Université de Nantes), L’"unité des cœurs" et l’"uniformité des mœurs" au défi de l’espace et du temps : les statuts des ordres religieux au Moyen Âge.
Déjeuner au Lavoir des moines de l’abbaye
Visite de l’abbaye, 13h30

Après-midi - Nature de la règle et des règlements, 15h

  • Julie Claustre (Université de Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne), Réflexions sur la nature des premiers règlements de geôles médiévales.
  • Isabelle Mathieu (Université d’Angers), Les prisons seigneuriales à la fin du Moyen Âge : un univers réglementé ?
  • Hinda Hedhili (Université de Bordeaux 4), Règles de droit et règlements pénitentiaires au XIXe siècle.
  • Ludovic Maugué (Université de Genève), Règles et règlements dans la maison centrale de détention d’Embrun (1803-1815) : négociation, diffusion et généralisation d’un modèle normatif.

Vendredi 5 octobre - Troyes - Médiathèque du Grand Troyes

Matinée - Mise en texte de la règle et développement règlementaire, 10h00

  • Gordon Blennemann (Université Erlangen-Nürnberg - Institut historique allemand de Paris), La norme narrée. Hagiographies de femmes religieuses de l’Empire germanique dans le contexte de réforme du Moyen Âge central.
  • Harmony Dewez (Université de Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne), “Obedientiales et claustrales”. Clôture, argent et contrôle chez les bénédictins anglais au XIIIe siècle.
  • Daniel-Odon Hurel (C.N.R.S., Laboratoire d’études sur les monothéismes), De la Règle de saint Benoît à la pratique réglementaire pénitentielle chez les bénédictins et les bénédictines des XVIe-XVIIe siècles : traductions, relectures et interprétations.
  • Martin Scheutz (University of Vienna), Prayers, food and conflict avoidance in Houses : the regime of order in Austrian Early Modern Hospitals.
Déjeuner au Bistroquet

Après-midi - Mise en œuvre de la règle et production de l’obéissance, 14h30

  • Albrecht Diem (Syracuse University), Organizing sanctity: discipline and theology in early medieval monasticism.
  • Axelle Neyrinck (E.H.E.S.S. - Université de Reims), Infractions à la règle ou débordements réglés ? Réflexions autour de la fête des Saints-Innocents à Saint-Gall au Xe siècle.
  • Steven Vanderputten (Universiteit Gent), L’instrumentalisation du coutumier clunisien dans l’espace lotharingien (fin XIe- début XIIe siècle).
  • Isabelle Heullant-Donat (Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne), De la perfecta obedientia à la pertinax inobedientia, produire l'obéissance chez les franciscains (XIIe-XIVe siècle).
  • Antoine Roullet (Université Paris-Sorbonne), Herméneutiques régulières : comment être zélée et obéissante au Carmel durant le XVIe siècle ?
  • Falk Bretschneider (E.H.E.S.S., Paris), Produire de l’obéissance en situation d’enfermement à l’époque moderne.

Samedi 6 octobre - Clairvaux

Matinée - Dérèglements en milieu clos, 9h30

  • Guy Geltner (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Closure and Disclosure : The Medieval Mendicant Friars and the Threat of Scandal.
  • Ana Rodriguez (Investigadora Cientifica, Instituto de historia CCHS-CSIC, Madrid), Entre conflits internes et agents externes : clôture et monastère féminin au Moyen Âge dans le royaume de Castille.
  • Elisabeth Lusset (Université de Paris Ouest - Nanterre-La Défense), Réformes et violences dans les monastères aux derniers siècles du Moyen Âge.
  • Kristjan Toomaspoeg (Università del Salento, Lecce), Manquements et dérèglements dans l’Ordre teutonique (XIIe-XVe siècle).
Déjeuner au Lavoir des moines de l’abbaye

Après-midi - Dérèglements en milieu clos, 14h

  • Laurence Guignard (Université de Nancy 2), Protéger pour punir : suicide et enfermement dans les prisons françaises au XIXe siècle.
  • Aude Fauvel (Institut universitaire d’histoire de la médecine et de la santé publique, Lausanne), Internés et obéissance dans les asiles de fous au XIXe siècle (France, Angleterre).
  • Rebecca McLennan (Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley), Arts of Mischief : Rules and Unruliness in the 19th Century American Prison.

Conclusions du colloque

  • Dominique Iogna-Prat, directeur de recherches au C.N.R.S. et directeur d’études à l’E.H.E.S.S.

Helmholtz: des lumières aux neurosciences

Helmholtz: From Enlightenment to Neuroscience

Michel Meulders is Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience and Honorary Prorector of the Catholic University of Louvain, where he also was Dean of the Medical School from 1974 to 1979.
  • Laurence Garey, a neuroscientist and anatomist, is the translator of Michel Jouvet's The Paradox of Sleep (2001) and The Castle of Dreams (2008), both published by the MIT Press.

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Éditeur: The MIT Press (21 septembre 2012)
  • Langue: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262518198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262518192

Although Hermann von Helmholtz was one of most remarkable figures of nineteenth-century science, he is little known outside his native Germany. Helmholtz (1821--1894) made significant contributions to the study of vision and perception and was also influential in the painting, music, and literature of the time; one of his major works analyzed tone in music. This book, the first in English to describe Helmholtz's life and work in detail, describes his scientific studies, analyzes them in the context of the science and philosophy of the period--in particular the German Naturphilosophie--and gauges his influence on today's neuroscience.
Helmholtz, trained by Johannes Müller, one of the best physiologists of his time, used a resolutely materialistic and empirical scientific method in his research. His work, eclipsed at the beginning of the twentieth century by new ideas in neurophysiology, has recently been rediscovered. We can now recognize in Helmholtz's methods--which were based on his belief in the interconnectedness of physiology and psychology--the origins of neuroscience.

Poste en histoire des sciences modernes de la vie

Open-rank Position in the History of the Modern Life Sciences

 University of Missouri - Columbia, History

The Department of History at the University of Missouri, Columbia, is seeking to fill an open-rank, tenured/tenure-track position in the history of the modern life sciences (i.e., from c. 1850 to the present) within any sub-field.  Applicants must have a degree in History, History of Science, or a closely allied discipline.  Whoever fills this position will be a full-time member of the History Department and will also be affiliated with the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center as a resident historian.  We are seeking candidates with a compelling research agenda and a strong commitment to building networks among disciplines.  Existing initiatives in which s/he could participate include a science studies research group, an evolutionary studies research group, and a teaching certificate in the Life Sciences & Society Program.  S/he is also expected to develop innovative projects along interdisciplinary lines.  As a result, the normal 2-2 course-load in the History Department will be reduced by one. Two courses are open to his/her discretion.  The third will be an annual historical survey of the modern life sciences that addresses social and cultural implications.
Please submit letter of application describing research and teaching interests, an article-length writing sample, and c.v. online at These items should be attached in the Resume/CV & Cover Letter or Attachments section of the application system. Three reference letters are required and may be sent electronically to or in hard copy to History of Life Sciences Committee, 101 Read Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-7500.

The application deadline is October 19, 2012.

mardi 28 août 2012

L'ergothérapie au Québec

L'ergothérapie au Québec

Histoire d'une profession

Francine Ferland est ergothérapeute et professeure émérite de l'Université de Montréal. En plus de son expérience en santé des enfants et en santé publique, elle est l'auteure du livre Le modèle ludique. Le jeu, l'enfant ayant une déficience physique et l'ergothérapie (PUM) et de nombreux ouvrages à l'intention des parents et des éducateurs des centres de la petite enfance. 

Elisabeth Dutil, ergothérapeute, a fait carrière au programme d'ergothérapie de l'Université de Montréal. Chercheure au Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en réadaptation de Montréal (CRIR), elle s'est intéressée particulièrement au développement d'outils et d'approches reliées aux habitudes de la vie de la personne.

Ce livre n'est pas l'œuvre d'historiens portant leur regard de spécialistes sur des archives et des événements passés. Il s'agit plutôt d'un ouvrage d'enquête et d'écriture de deux cliniciennes, chercheures et professeures, qui ont été au cœur de l'expérience ergothérapique québécoise et de son évolution au cours des quarante dernières années. Il raconte aussi comment cette profession, pratiquée surtout par des femmes, a connu un essor majeur, comment elle est devenue une profession à part entière au Québec et a acquis ses lettres de noblesse.

L'éducation médicale au Texas

Old Red: Pioneering Medical Education in Texas

Heather Green Wooten of League City is a historian and award-winning author of The Polio Years in Texas: Battling a Terrifying Unknown (Texas A&M University Press, 2009). She is also an educator and associate for the Houston-based history consulting firm, W. H. Kellar Consulting, LLC.

Paperback: 100 pages
Éditeur: Texas State Historical Association (15 novembre 2012)
Langue: English
ISBN-10: 0876112548

Tucked away in a corner of the University of Texas Medical Branch campus stands a majestic relic of an era long past. Constructed of red pressed brick, sandstone and ruddy Texas granite, the Ashbel Smith Building, fondly known as Old Red, represents a fascinating page in Galveston and Texas history. It has been more than a century since Old Red welcomed the first group of visionary faculty and students inside its halls. For decades, the medical school building existed at the heart of UTMB campus life, even throughout periods of dramatic growth and change. In time, however, the building lost much of its original function to larger, more contemporary facilities. Today, as the oldest medical school building west of the Mississippi River, the intricately ornate Old Red sits in sharp contrast to its sleeker neighbors.
Old Red: Pioneering Medical Education in Texas examines the life and legacy of the Ashbel Smith Building from its beginnings through modern-day efforts to preserve it. Chapters explore the nascence of medical education in Texas; the supreme talent and genius of Old Red architect, Nicholas J. Clayton; and the lives of faculty and students as they labored and learned in the midst of budget crises, classroom and fraternity antics, death-rendering storms, and threats of closure. The education of the state's first professional female and minority physicians, and the nationally acclaimed work of physician-scientists and researchers are also highlighted. Most of all, the reader is invited to step inside Old Red and mingle with ghosts of the past—to ascend the magnificent cedar staircase, wander the long, paneled hallways, and take a seat in the tiered amphitheater as pigeons fly in and out of windows overhead.

Sang, cerveaux, bébés et huile


08/09/2012, 11:00 - 13:30

Medical Sciences Section, British Science Association

For a thousand years Aberdeen has witnessed epidemics and body-snatchers, medical triumphs and tragedies, and has sent its doctors out to the four corners of the world. In this guided walk join Dr Richard Barnett, historian of medicine and Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, for a stomach-churning, brain-teasing, eye-popping journey to the heart (and other organs) of the granite city.
Meet at the New Library, University of Aberdeen

lundi 27 août 2012

Les esprits animaux et les origines de la neurophysiologie

The Animal Spirit Doctrine and the Origins of Neurophysiology

Chris Smith holds degrees in Zoology, Physics and Biophysics and a PhD in Neuroscience. 
Eugenio Frixione is a cell physiologist who has published mainly experimental basic research on several mechanisms of cell motility in neural and epithelial tissues, and in unicellular parasites. 
Stanley Finger first studied recovery from brain damage and then turned to the history of the neurosciences. 
Will Clower is trained in neurophysiology, studying the mechanisms of movement control associated with motor learning. 

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Éditeur: Oxford University Press; 1 édition (26 juillet 2012)
  • Langue: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199766495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199766499
How do we become aware of things and events in the outside world, and how does the brain control the muscular system and behavior? This book examines the history of Western attempts to explain how messages might be sent from the sense organs to the brain and from the brain to the muscles. It focuses on a construct called animal spirit, which would permeate philosophy and guide physiology and medicine for over two millennia.

The authors' story opens along the Eastern Mediterranean, where they examine how Pre-Socratic philosophers related the soul to air-wind or pneuma. They then trace what Hippocrates, Plato and Aristotle wrote about this pneuma, and how Stoic and Epicurean philosophers approached it. They also visit Alexandria, where Hellenistic anatomists provided new thoughts about the nerves and the ventricles. Thereafter, the authors return to the Greek mainland, where they show how Galen's pneuma psychikon or spiritus animae would provide an explanation for sensations and movements.

Galen's writings would guide science and medicine for well over a thousand years, albeit with some modifications. One change, found in early Christian writers Nemesius and Augustine, involved assigning perception, cognition, and memory to different spirit-filled ventricles. After examining how pious Scholastics later dealt with the nerve spirit, the authors turn to how questions began to be raised about it in the 1500s and 1600s. Here they examine the rise of modern science with its revealing experiments, microscopic observations, and attempts to break with the past. Descartes, Swammerdam, Borelli, Glisson, Willis, Newton, Hartley, Boerhaave and Haller are among the featured players in this part of the story.

Nevertheless, the animal spirit doctrine continued to survive (although modified), because no adequate replacement for it was immediately forthcoming. The replacement theory stemmed from experiments on electric fishes started in the 1750s. Additional research on these fishes and then on frogs eventually led scientists to abandon their time-honored ideas. The authors trace some of the developments leading to modern electrophysiology and end with an epilogue centered on what this history teaches us about paradigmatic changes in the life sciences.

de l'animal à l'homme


From “Animal” to “Man”

The medical and philosophical debate on human intelligence and animal perceptual faculties between Aristotelianism, Cartesianism and Post-Cartesianism (16th–18th centuries)

International Conference

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

September 27th-28th, 2012

Organised in cooperation between the AvH-Professur “Medicine of the Mind, Philosophy of the Body” and the ANR Philomed Project “La refonte de l’homme: découvertes médicales et anthropologie philosophique”.

Theme and aims of the conference

This international conference will focus on the rise of the medical and philosophical debate on the differences, analogies, and specificities of human and animal intelligence and sensibility in the early modern age (from the sixteenth to the first half of the eighteenth century). It is in this period that the new anatomical investigations of the brain and the nervous system along with a renewed interest in comparative anatomy allowed doctors and philosophers to ground their theories on sense perception, the emergence of human intelligence, and the ‘soul/body relationship’ on a ‘scientific’ basis by investigating the anatomical structures and the physiological processes that underlie the rise, differentiation and articulation of the human cognitive activities, and by looking for the ‘anatomical roots’ of the specificity of human intelligence when compared to the other forms of animal sensibility.
Already in ancient times such a field of investigation is widely explored by Aristotle, whose zoological works testify to his intention to establish a comprehensive ‘scientific’ discourse on the animal life by means of a systematic comparison of the structures and the functions observable in a huge varieties of species. But it becomes absolutely prominent in the sixteenth century thanks to the revival of the Aristotelian zoology prompted by the medical faculties of the Italian universities of Padua, Pisa, Bologna. For it is in full accordance with the teachings of Aristotle that a ‘medical Aristotelianism’ developed in these Universities, and that doctors and anatomists like Fabrici d’Aquapendente and William Harvey established the methodologies as well as the theoretical premises and the ‘research aims’ of the extensive practice of comparative anatomy in which they were involved.
But the same massive use of a comparative approach in order to account for both the phenomenon of animal sensibility and the specificity of human intelligence is to be found also in Descartes (see the Traité de l’homme) and Cartesianism (also in its medical version of Iatromechanism), although in an openly anti-Aristotelian perspective. It is thus clear that a serious attempt to shed new light on what we may call “the anatomizing of sensibility and intelligence” in the Modern Age cannot be done without taking into serious consideration the manner in which a variety of medical and philosophical representations of man as the ‘rational animal’ par excellence took inspiration from, interacted with and, in some cases, reacted to the Aristotelian and the Galenic traditions, so providing an excellent case study of ‘essential tension’ between reception, transmission and reinvention of the tradition, on one side, and its criticism and ultimate rejection, on the other side.

The conference will present contributions shedding fresh light on early modern authors and texts (both medical and philosophical) that address the question of intelligence and sensibility in man as equated/opposed to, or distinguished from animal forms of intelligence and sensibility, by making use of various forms of comparative approach (first of all, of comparative anatomy) as a heuristic/methodological/theoretical/rhetorical tool, and by explicitly or implicitly adopting strategies of reception and reinvention, or of polemical rejection of, the Aristotelian tradition.

If you wish to participate, please fill out the registration form (MS Word file) and email it to Ms Stefanie Jahnke ( later than September 20, 2012. There are no conference fees.

Please click here to see a provisional programme (pdf file).

 From “Animal” to “Man”
The medical and philosophical debate on human intelligence and animal perceptual faculties between Aristotelianism, Cartesianism and Post-Cartesianism (16th–18th centuries)
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Provisional Conference Programme
Thursday, 27th September, 2012(Topoi Building, Hannoversche Straße 6, Seminar Room 1.03)
8.30–9.30 Registration
9.30–9.45 Introduction(Roberto Lo Presti / Stefanie Buchenau / Philip van der Eijk)
1st session: chair Philip van der Eijk (Humboldt-Universität)
9.45–10.30 Stefano Perfetti (Università di Pisa)Discussions on animal thought in late-scholastic Aristotelianism. Agostino Nifo’s commentaries on Aristotle’s zoological works and Parva naturalia)
10.30–11.15 Hiro Hirai (Radboud University, Nijmegen)Animal and human generation and intellect in Renaissance medical debates 
Coffee Break
11.45–12.30 James Lennox / Peter Distelzweig (University of Pittsburgh)Sensation and locomotion in Aristotle, Fabricius and Harvey
12.30–13.15 Davide Cellamare (Radboud University, Nijmegen)Renaissance psychology. Francisco Vallés (1524–1592) and Otto Casmann (1562–1607) on animal and human souls 
2nd session: chair Roberto Lo Presti (Humboldt-Universität / ANR-Philomed)
15.00–15.45 Dennis Des Chene (Washington University)Sennert and the seed: explaining substantial change in generation 
Coffee Break
15.45–16.30 Charles Wolfe (Universiteit Gent)The problem of living machines and life principles in early modern natural philosophy
Evening programme
(Hörsaalruine, Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum, Charitéplatz 1 —
19.00 Keynote Lecture:Domenico Bertoloni Meli (Indiana University)Machines of the body in the 17th century 
Friday, 28th September, 2012(Topoi Building, Hannoversche Straße 6, Seminar Room 1.03)
1st session: chair Stephen Gaukroger (Sydney University)
9.00–9.45 Nunzio Allocca (Roma, La Sapienza)Beyond Aristotle’s Zoology and Descartes’ theory of living automata: natural history and compared anatomy at the seventeenth-century Académie Royale des Sciences of Paris
9.45–10.30 Claire Crignon (Paris IV / ANR-Philomed)The debate on the soul of brutes in Thomas Willis De Anima Brutorum, London 1672 
Coffee Break
Chair Stefanie Buchenau (Paris 8 / ANR-Philomed)
11.00–11.45 Domenico Bertoloni Meli (Indiana University)Diseases of the brain seen through Giovanni Battista Morgagni’s eyes
11.45–12.30 Stephen Gaukroger (Sydney University)Anthropological Medicine and the Naturalization of Sensibility 
2nd session: chair Claire Crignon (Paris IV / ANR-Philomed)
14.00–14.45 Rafael Mandressi (CNRS, Paris)Sensitive brutes. Félix Vicq d’Azyr and the comparative anatomy of the soul
14.45–15.30 Tobias Cheung (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)The order of inner and outer acts in Cabanis’s human animals
15.30–16.15 Stefanie Buchenau (Paris 8 / ANR-Philomed)‘Sensus communis’, ‘sensorium commune’ and ‘sensus internus’ in the late German Enlightenment 
Coffee Break
3rd session: chair Christoph Lüthy (Radboud University, Nijmegen)
16.45–18.45 General Discussion

A list of options for accommodation, food, and travel is available here (pdf file).

For further inquiries, please contact the organiser:
Dr Roberto Lo Presti (