Communities of Care:
Women, Healing, and Prayer in the Late Medieval Lowlands
My current book project examines feminized healthcare practices in thirteenth-century northern Europe, particularly Flanders, Brabant, and northern France. Attending to the hundreds of Cistercian nuns and beguines who served the daily health needs of their communities by acting as nurses to the sick, assistants to the dying, midwives, caretakers of lepers, custodians of the dead, managers of hospices, founders of leprosaria, and comforters 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, and manuscript sources, Communities 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 historically obscured their presence and influence.