Acts of Care: Recovering Women in Late Medieval Health
Acts of Care examines feminized healthcare practices in thirteenth-century northern Europe, particularly Flanders, Brabant, and northern France. Attending to religious women who served the daily health needs of their communities by acting as nurses to the sick, assistants to the dying, midwives, and managers of hospices, who provided food, shelter, medicine, healing prayers, and other forms of bodily care to the suffering, it portrays premodern epistemologies of health from outside of the conceptual hierarchy that has privileged academic medical texts and occupational markers. Based on archival, archaeological, hagiographic, and manuscript sources, Acts of Care serves not only to re-embed women into the history of medieval medicine, but also to reveal the gendered, political, and religious habits of thought that have obscured their presence and influence. The book is scheduled for release on Cornell University Press in the Spring, 2021 catalogue. It is available in hardback, paperback, and Open Access e-book.
Praise for Acts of Care:
"Resting on a careful reading of the corpus of biographies of unofficial saints and numerous other sources besides, such as prayers, psalm-books, poetry, liturgy, images, objects, and regimens of health, Acts of Care is very well written and clearly argued." --Peregrine Horden, Royal Holloway, University of London, author of Cultures of Healing, Medieval and After
"The quality of work in Acts of Care is exceptional; Ritchey displays impressive familiarity with an array of texts and makes a number of important contributions to our understanding of how gender, piety and healing intersected in the Late Middle Ages." --Erin Jordan, Ohio University, author of Women, Power and Religious Patronage in the Middle Ages