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Topics in History: Magic, Miracles and Medicine

Topics in History: Magic, Miracles and Medicine

From magical Byzantine amulets and sacred healing spaces to Galenic Theory and the emergence of alchemical medicine in the sixteenth century, the approaches taken to healing in the Mediterranean basin between 1100-1550 were diverse and overlapping. Alongside discovering the medical pluralism of the past, this course takes a critical look at the historiography of healing. We will contrast earlier theories that proposed that societies underwent a progression from magic, to religion, to science with modern scholarship that seeks to understand diverse healing practices’ coexistence and reconsiders the definition of magic as contingent on cultural and historical circumstances. This course aims to provide students with an overview of past healing practices and an understanding of current trends in the history of medicine.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.