In Acts of Care, Sara Ritchey recovers women's healthcare work by identifying previously overlooked tools of care: healing prayers, birthing indulgences, medical blessings, liturgical images, and penitential practices. Ritchey demonstrates that women in premodern Europe were both deeply engaged with and highly knowledgeable about health, the body, and therapeutic practices, but their critical role in medieval healthcare has been obscured because scholars have erroneously regarded the evidence of their activities as religious rather than medical.
The sources for identifying the scope of medieval women's health knowledge and healthcare practice, Ritchey argues, are not found in academic medical treatises. Rather, she follows fragile traces detectable in liturgy, miracles, poetry, hagiographic narratives, meditations, sacred objects, and the daily behaviors that constituted the world, as well as in testaments and land transactions from hospitals and leprosaria established and staffed by beguines and Cistercian nuns.
Through its surprising use of alternate sources, Acts of Care reconstructs the vital caregiving practices of religious women in the southern Low Countries, reconnecting women's therapeutic authority into the everyday world of late medieval healthcare.
Introduction: To Heed the Trace-- Part I: Therapeutic Narratives -- 1. Translating Care: The Circulation of Healing Stories -- 2. Bedside Comforts: The Social Organization of Care -- Part II: Therapeutic Knowledge -- 3. Empirical Bodies: Competing Theories of Therapeutic Authority -- Part III: Therapeutic Practice -- 4. Rhythmic Medicine: The Psalter as a Therapeutic Technology in Beguine Communities -- 5. Salutary Words: Saints' Lives as Efficacious Texts in Cistercian Women's Abbeys -- Afterword
Maria Stehle and Beverly Weber
Drawing on and responding to the writings of theorists such as Judith Butler, Sarah Ahmed, Lauren Berlant, and Lisa Lowe, this book proposes the notion of “precarious intimacies” to navigate a dilemma: how to recognize, affirm, and value love, touch, and care while challenging the racialized and gendered politics in which they are embedded.
Twenty-first-century Europe is undergoing dramatic political and economic transformations that produce new forms of transnational contact as well as new regimes of exclusion and economic precarity. These political and economic shifts both circumscribe and enable new possibilities for intimacy. Many European films of the last two decades depict experiences of political and economic vulnerability in narratives of precarious intimacies. In these films, stories of intimacy, sex, love, and friendship are embedded in violence and exclusion, but, as Maria Stehle and Beverly Weber show, the politics of touch and connection also offers avenues to theorize forms of attention and affection that challenge exclusive notions of race, citizenship, and belonging.
Precarious Intimacies examines the aesthetic strategies that respond to this tension and proposes a politics of interpretation that identifies the potential and possibility of intimacy. (from https://nupress.northwestern.edu/content/precarious-intimacies)
Introduction: Politics of Intimacy in Contemporary European Cinema -- Touching Journeys : Precarious Intimacies and Narratives of Nonarrival -- Touch as Narrative Disruption : Race, Gender, and Queering Intimacy -- Religion, Sexuality, and Precarious Intimacy -- Commodified Intimacy in a Globalizing Europe -- White Fragility and the White Gaze : Race, Gender, and Neoliberalism -- Conclusion: Precarious Intimacies, Collaborations, and Solidarities
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