Call for Papers, Space and the Hospital: International Network for the History of Hospitals Conference, Lisbon, 26-28 May 2021


Space and the hospital

Hosted by: ‘Hospitalis: Hospital Architecture in Portugal at the Dawn of Modernity’ Research Project and the Hospital Real de Todos os Santos, Lisbon, Portugal.

Space, in both its physical and conceptual manifestations, has been a part of how hospitals were designed, built, used, and understood within the wider community. By focusing on space, this conference aims to explore this subject through the lens of its architectural, socio-cultural, medical, economic, charitable, ideological, and public conceptualisations.

Hospital_Real_de_Todos_os_Santos

Hospital Real de Todos os Santos, Wikimedia Commons

This thirteenth INHH conference will explore the relationship between space and hospitals throughout history by examining it through the lens of five themes: (1) ritual, space, and architecture; (2) hospitals as ‘model’ spaces; (3) the impact of medical practice and theory on space; (4) hospitality and social space; (5) sponsorship. Below are more details about how the conference themes will address along with related questions. The themes and questions presented are by no means an exhaustive list; however, we encourage the submission of an abstract that examines any aspects of space and the history of hospitals in innovative ways.

Key Themes and Questions to be explored:

1. Ritual, Space, and Architecture

  • How has the architectural designs of hospitals shaped their use? How has ritual impacted the built environment? How have these spaces been preserved and how are they presented to modern audiences? How were aesthetic changes integrated over time?
  • Examples: architectural design, death care and burials, patient rooms, religious spaces in medical environments, archaeological and/or architectural reconstructions, material culture, heritage studies.

2. Hospitals as ‘Model’ Spaces

  • How have hospitals, leprosaria, and other health care establishments been conceptualised as ‘model’ institutions, both architecturally and spatially? How were architectural models communicated and circulated? How did colonial ‘models’ inform both hospitals and the surrounding environment? How were these ‘models’ juxtaposed against pre-existing institutions and/or practices? Did bad ‘models’ exist, if so, what was the criteria for this categorisation?
  • Examples: Using plans from pre-existing hospitals; the imposition of a non-indigenous ‘model;’ hospitals in transition (i.e. colonial to postcolonial).

3. The Impact of Medical Theory and Practice on Space

  • How did prevailing medical theories influence the built environment? As these theories and practices changed, how were these changes made manifest?
  • Examples: colonial medicine and its impact on architecture and space of existing and ‘new’ hospitals; changes in space creating inclusive or exclusive environments; bioarchaeological studies of hospitals and their patients; care versus cure.

4. Hospitality as Social Space

  • How has the inclusion or exclusion of groups shaped care and space? How is this reflected in its architecture? How have hospitals been designed to be more welcoming? How were health and social activities balanced in a hospital’s built environment? How does the presence of hospitals and/or leprosaria impact urban planning?
  • Examples: segregation within hospitals; concierge services and creating a ‘public face;’ the role of gender and hospitality; hospitality and socio-economic status; psychological responses to space in hospitals.

5. Sponsorship

  • How have founders and donors affected the creation and/or development of a hospital? Did their donation change the social or cultural environment? How does this impact the hospital’s reputation?
  • Examples: Prioritising wings for specific illness or methods of care; perception of donors as individuals; impact of class and gender.

The Advisory Board of the INHH and the local organising committee wish to invite proposals for 20 minute papers or posters which address the conference theme. Potential contributors are asked to bear in mind that engagement with the theme of space and the hospital will be a key criterion in determining which papers are accepted onto the programme.

Abstracts should be a maximum of 300 words in length, in English and accompanied by a brief biography of no more than 200 words. Proposals should be sent to space.inhh@gmail.com by 30 September 2020. As with previous INHH conferences, it is intended that an edited volume of the conference papers will be published. Submissions are particularly encouraged from researchers who have not previously given a paper at an INHH conference.

Upon provision of full receipts, we hope to be able to support attendance at this conference, particularly for postgraduates and early career researchers. Speakers will be asked to make use of alternative sources of funding where these are available. Any queries may be directed to space.inhh@gmail.com.

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