Session Title

The Prosthetic Impulse in the Middle Ages: Metaphor, Materiality, and the Promise of the (Post)human

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Agatha Hansen

Organizer Affiliation

Queen's Univ. Kingston

Presider Name

Will Eggers

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Hartford

Paper Title 1

Saint Melor's Shameful Part: Prosthesis in the Life of Saint Melor

Presenter 1 Name

Agatha Hansen

Paper Title 2

Crip Christianity: Trauma, Ministry, and Narrative as Prosthesis

Presenter 2 Name

M. W. Bychowski

Presenter 2 Affiliation

George Washington Univ.

Paper Title 3

Posthuman Lear: Progymnasmata as Prosthesis

Presenter 3 Name

Craig Dionne

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Eastern Michigan Univ.

Paper Title 4

Respondent

Presenter 4 Name

Tory Vandeventer Pearman

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Miami Univ. Hamilton

Start Date

10-5-2013 3:30 PM

Session Location

Valley I 104

Description

The title this panel alludes to the recent publication edited by Marquard Smith and Joanne Morra, The Prosthetic Impulse, which probes the topic of prosthesis in all of its possible manifestations. In its most basic sense, prosthesis implies both word and body, but the term extends beyond the relatively straightforward understanding of human-machine coupling; the function of prosthetics, as generally accepted by contemporary prosthesis theorists, is to mediate between perceived binary relations—body and machine, nature and civilization, the conscious and subconscious, self and other, and man and God. “The Prosthetic Impulse in the Middle Ages” will seek to explore those points of contact and encounters with distinctly medieval material, metaphorical, and figural prosthesis, and modify Smith and Morra’s observation that “the promise of ‘posthuman’ thought can already be found in the human” (7): the promise of the posthuman can already be found in the medieval body. Although prosthesis might point to the early modern period as its earliest reference, recent studies suggest that such an assumption is simply not substantiated. One can and should speak of prosthesis and prosthetics in the Middle Ages, and such a panel hopes to encourage its discussion in both the field of Disability in the Middle Ages, and studies of the medieval body, more generally.

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May 10th, 3:30 PM

The Prosthetic Impulse in the Middle Ages: Metaphor, Materiality, and the Promise of the (Post)human

Valley I 104

The title this panel alludes to the recent publication edited by Marquard Smith and Joanne Morra, The Prosthetic Impulse, which probes the topic of prosthesis in all of its possible manifestations. In its most basic sense, prosthesis implies both word and body, but the term extends beyond the relatively straightforward understanding of human-machine coupling; the function of prosthetics, as generally accepted by contemporary prosthesis theorists, is to mediate between perceived binary relations—body and machine, nature and civilization, the conscious and subconscious, self and other, and man and God. “The Prosthetic Impulse in the Middle Ages” will seek to explore those points of contact and encounters with distinctly medieval material, metaphorical, and figural prosthesis, and modify Smith and Morra’s observation that “the promise of ‘posthuman’ thought can already be found in the human” (7): the promise of the posthuman can already be found in the medieval body. Although prosthesis might point to the early modern period as its earliest reference, recent studies suggest that such an assumption is simply not substantiated. One can and should speak of prosthesis and prosthetics in the Middle Ages, and such a panel hopes to encourage its discussion in both the field of Disability in the Middle Ages, and studies of the medieval body, more generally.