In this Book

summary

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.

Thanks to generous funding from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the ebook editions of this book are available as Open Access (OA) volumes from Cornell Open (cornellopen.org) and other Open Access repositories.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page
  2. p. iii
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  1. Dedication
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. List of Abbreviations
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Other Front Matter
  2. pp. xv-xvi
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  1. Introduction: To Heed the Trace
  2. pp. 1-34
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  1. Part I. Therapeutic Narratives
  2. pp. 35-36
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  1. 1. Translating Care: The Circulation of Healing Stories
  2. pp. 37-76
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  1. 2. Bedside Comforts: The Social Organization of Care
  2. pp. 77-128
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  1. Part II. Therapeutic Knowledge
  2. pp. 129-130
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  1. Chapter 3
  2. pp. 131-170
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  1. Part III. Therapeutic Practice
  2. pp. 171-172
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  1. 4. Rhythmic Medicine: The Psalter as a Therapeutic Technology in Beguine Communities
  2. pp. 173-223
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  1. 5. Salutary Words: Saints’ Lives as Efficacious Texts in Cistercian Women’s Abbeys
  2. pp. 224-257
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  1. Afterword
  2. pp. 258-264
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 265-298
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 299-310
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  1. Copyright
  2. p. iv
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781501753541
Related ISBN
9781501758324
MARC Record
OCLC
1155487890
Launched on MUSE
2021-04-12
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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