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54th International Congress on Medieval Studies: Kalamazoo, MI
May 9, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am EDT
This is a Sponsored Session: Byzantine Responses to Minorities – The Case of the Physically Impaired
Sickness, disfigurement, and disability were commonplace in the Byzantine world. Yet the histories of those who did not conform to ‘able‐bodied’ norms are often left untold by Byzantinists. While eunuchs are an obvious exception to this rule, more of these groups deserve to be included in discourses of power and social order. Our session aims to address this imbalance by using histories, saints’ Lives, and canon law to explore the experiences of the chronically-ill, disfigured, or otherwise incapacitated, between the eighth and twelfth centuries. Our papers aim to illustrate that integrating disability as a category of analysis and a system of representation can deepen and challenge our understanding of Byzantine identity.