Session Title

Disability before Disability in the Medieval Icelandic Sagas

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Háskóli Íslands; Icelandic Research Fund

Organizer Name

Ármann Jakobsson; Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir

Organizer Affiliation

Háskóli Íslands; Háskóli Íslands

Presider Name

Christopher Crocker

Presider Affiliation

Háskóli Íslands

Paper Title 1

A World of Difference: Negotiating the Non-Normate Figure in the Icelandic Sagas

Presenter 1 Name

John P. Sexton

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Bridgewater State Univ.

Paper Title 2

Deafness, the Inability to Speak, and How Such Disabity Is Addressed in Medieval Iceland

Presenter 2 Name

Shaun F. D. Hughes

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Purdue Univ.

Paper Title 3

Inferring from Impairments: A Bioarchaeological Approach to Disability in Medieval Iceland

Presenter 3 Name

Haraldur Thor Hammer Haraldsson

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Háskóli Íslands

Start Date

10-5-2019 10:00 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1325

Description

This session, organised by the research project 'Disability Before Disability' funded by the Icelandic Research Fund (Grant of excellence no. 173655-051), will revolve around the ways in which disability is represented in medieval Icelandic literature, particularly in medieval saga writing. Panelists will engage with the concept of disability beyond the traditional bio-medical understanding of the term, exploring disability as a social phenomenon embedded in different social arrangements and cultural conventions. They will seek to understand what constituted disability in medieval Icelandic society, culture, and history prior to the establishment of disability as a modern legal, bureaucratic and administrative concept. The aim is not to arrive at a comprehensive definition of disability in the sagas or to provide diagnoses based on modern pathological criteria. However, while maintaining a distinction between the two, the relationship between impairment (biological dysfunction) and disability (a process of exclusion) in the medieval sagas will be placed under scrutiny.

Among medieval and early modern texts, the medieval sagas are unique in the nature and scope of primary material they provide. In contrast to other medieval non-literary sources (e.g. legal texts or chronicles), the sagas embed the material they provide within a coherent, episodic narrative context. Thus, the sagas can facilitate the understanding of how disability works in the community and provide an impression as to how (saga) society dealt with and reacted to disability. This panel will engage with and build upon previous research on this topic in both an Icelandic and wider medieval context.

Ármann Jakobsson and Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir

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May 10th, 10:00 AM

Disability before Disability in the Medieval Icelandic Sagas

Schneider 1325

This session, organised by the research project 'Disability Before Disability' funded by the Icelandic Research Fund (Grant of excellence no. 173655-051), will revolve around the ways in which disability is represented in medieval Icelandic literature, particularly in medieval saga writing. Panelists will engage with the concept of disability beyond the traditional bio-medical understanding of the term, exploring disability as a social phenomenon embedded in different social arrangements and cultural conventions. They will seek to understand what constituted disability in medieval Icelandic society, culture, and history prior to the establishment of disability as a modern legal, bureaucratic and administrative concept. The aim is not to arrive at a comprehensive definition of disability in the sagas or to provide diagnoses based on modern pathological criteria. However, while maintaining a distinction between the two, the relationship between impairment (biological dysfunction) and disability (a process of exclusion) in the medieval sagas will be placed under scrutiny.

Among medieval and early modern texts, the medieval sagas are unique in the nature and scope of primary material they provide. In contrast to other medieval non-literary sources (e.g. legal texts or chronicles), the sagas embed the material they provide within a coherent, episodic narrative context. Thus, the sagas can facilitate the understanding of how disability works in the community and provide an impression as to how (saga) society dealt with and reacted to disability. This panel will engage with and build upon previous research on this topic in both an Icelandic and wider medieval context.

Ármann Jakobsson and Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir