2015 Conference: Hygiene, Medicine, and Well-Being

“Hygiene, Medicine, and Well-Being in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age” will be the theme for the 2015 conference, first week of May 2015, at the University of Arizona, May 1-3.




Concept: Modern myths about medieval and early modern ideas concerning hygiene and health continue to dominate our understanding of the premodern world. People in the past might have used different approaches to hygiene and interpreted well-being perhaps differently than we do today, but they were neither dirty nor sickly. Their societies worked well because they pursued their own hygiene and had, relatively speaking, a functioning medical system in place.


medieval bath


So, were the Middle Ages really so dirty and unhygienic? See what Monty Python has to say

Classen, PPP for his paper on Hygiene and Baths in the Middle Ages


Isaac van Meckenem, ca. 1480/1490:


Children's Bath

Organizer and Chair:

Dr. Albrecht Classen
University Distinguished Professor

Dept. of German Studies, 301 LSB, The University of Arizona

520 621-1395; aclassen@u.arizona.edu; aclassen.faculty.arizona.edu


Deadline for submission of abstracts: January 31, 2015, but feel free to send an inquiry even after that date, to aclassen@u.arizona.edu

Location of Symposium: Meinel Optics Building, conference room, 8th floor (Friday, May 1: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.), and Chavez 111 on campus (Friday, 1-5 p.m., Saturday, May 2, 2015, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.), University of Arizona.

This is a self-sustaining academic symposium. Participants are expected to secure travel funds and other resources to cover their costs (housing, registration) from their home institution.

Registration: $90. This will not only cover the conference, but also provide you with a free copy of the subsequent volume, for which I will do intensive research together with all contributors.

Selected papers will be accepted for publication in a planned volume (de Gruyter; see my webpage on Fundamentals, under “Middle Ages,” right hand side navigation bar). Each contributor to the volume will receive a free copy and can negotiate with the publisher reduced prices for any of the volumes in our series.

For anyone interested in joining the symposium as part of the audience, please contact the organizer. Student participation will be most welcome.

Languages accepted at the symposium: English, French, German, and in exceptional cases Spanish. Non-English papers must be accompanied by a good English summary available as a hand-out. Abstracts of all papers will be posted well ahead of the symposium.

Hotel Accommodations: I have made a special arrangement with Riverpark Inn,  $72/night (plus tax [12.05%] plus $2 per night). Within the USA, call: 1-800 551-1466, refer to “Dept. of German Studies/Hygiene, Medicine, and Well-Being,” or to my name (Classen).  Local number: 520 239-2300. Transportation to and from the symposium (at the University of Arizona), will be provided by means of the new streetcar ($4./day).  For international guests, please fax your reservations to: 011- 520-239-2329.

The hotel can pick you up for free from the airport if you make a reservation ahead of time and if the van is available. Email your itinerary to Wes Clark, Manager.

For a downtown map, click on map

For a campus map, click on campus
Transportation from the airport: There are three additional (common) options:

1. Bus no. 6 to downtown ($1.50), Ronstadt Bus Depot, from there you walk west on Congress to Granada, turn left (south) to the I-10, through the tunnel, and the hotel is right there (this is by now all a pleasant walk, with good sidewalks, traffic lights, etc, so really safe). Or you can call the hotel at 239-2300 (but they might not have the van available). Alternatively, you can walk down Congress West to the I-10, pass under it, then turn left (South) and walk along Frontage Road to the Hotel (max. 15 minutes), also good sidewalks, traffic lights, etc. But now there is the better option: Buy a transfer ticket (same price) for the bus, and when you get to Ronstead, go to Congress, which runs east-west parallel to it, and hop on the street car, the ticket is still valid, and the street car will stop right next to the hotel.

For bus no. 6 (really easy and very cheap), see their schedule: https://www.suntran.com/pdf/routes/Rt_6_Win_07.pdf). Once you have reached Ronstadt downtown (end station), follow these instructions:

Map route:

2. Take the airport shuttle (one way: ca. $28; round trip: ca. $45), Stagecoach (https://www.azstagecoach.com). Subject to change
Reservation Information 520-889-1000 • reservations@azstagecoach.com.

3.regular taxi (ca. $25-$35, one way).

All prices subject to change.