13th Int'l Conference


The 13th Annual International Conference of TACMRS


This conference proposes to explore questions of well-being, illness and remedy, whether  corporeal, psychological or spiritual across a wide range of disciplines and cultural expressions,  including art, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and medicine, with a particular emphasis on  how greater understanding of the period from antiquity to early modernity can shed new light on  contemporary approaches to holistic health and healing.


Throughout Antiquity, and into the Middle Ages and Premodernity, disease and its cures were  invariably approached in an integrative manner, as involving corporeal, mental and spiritual  well-being, both at an individual and societal level. A breakdown in harmony and balance,  whether within the individual, in social relationships, or with God/the gods could lead to personal  dis-ease (in the literal sense of a lack of ease), or even to mass affliction.


Literary works are a rich source of information on attitudes towards disease and its cures. In the  classical period, illness is a major theme in Greek and Roman tragedy. Petrarch, Dante, and  Boccaccio explore ideas of lovesickness, spiritual malaise, and the moral and social challenges  of disease. Along with Chaucer, Gower, Langland, and the Pearl-Poet all explore the  metaphorical and thematic possibilities of disease and medicine. In the Renaissance and Early  Modern period, Cervantes made the consequences of old age and an unstable mind of central concern in Don Quixote. Questions of disease and remedy, both physical and psychological are to be found in many of Shakespeare’s works, while Metaphysical poets such as John Donne also consider the tension between the health of the body and of the spirit.


Suggested topics for this conference include but are not limited to:

  • Disease, well-being, and cure in Classical, Medieval and Early Modern literature

  • Miracle accounts from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern

  • The theological and religious context of corporeal and spiritual disease and healing

  • Biblical disease and healing

  • Pilgrimages, shrines, relics and healing

  • Well-being, malady and remedy in Classical​

  • Medical literature from Antiquity to early-Modernity

  • The history of disease and healing in the Christian and Catholic tradition

  • Malady and wellness between East and West

  • Environmental and ecocritical approaches to the relationship between nature and  human health

  • Religion and spirituality in the context of the professionalization and institutionalization of  medicine

  • Influence of Classical, Medieval and Early Modern traditions of disease and wellness  on Modern and Post-modern culture

  • Artistic portrayals of malady and healing, both corporal and spiritual


(Taiwan Association of Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies)

The founding of this Association not only provides academics in Taiwan an intercollegiate and interdisciplinary platform to promote domestic humanities research, it also signifies the start up of a community that involves western classical, medieval and early modern studies in Asia. For the dissemination of scholarship and as the breeding ground of Taiwan’s fledging academics, TACMRS is set to serve its scholarly functions. Duly inaugurated in 2007, Prof. Nicholas Koss served as the first president of the Association. Thereby during the initial five years of TACMRS, Fu Jen University and Sun Yat-sen University alternated to host the TACMRS conference, adding visibility of the wide field to the Taiwan academia. The Association also made it a policy to actively engage in international exposure by sending delegates to attend overseas conferences.


Even before the founding of the Association, we established links in 2006 with the Medieval and Early Modern English Studies Association of Korea (MEMESAK). Such a link continues until this day and both associations concur to send delegate to participate in either side’s conferences on a regular basis. Then in 2008, we allied ourselves with the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, by organizing sponsored sessions in the Kalamazoo congress. By 2009, we extended ourselves to link up with the Renaissance Studies of America (RSA) with sponsored session at its conferences. Further in 2010, we lined up with Cooperative for the Advancement of Research through a Medieval European Network (CARMEN) as probably the only Asian member to this European setup. Recently still, we began to participate at the University of Leeds medieval conference in the U.K. in an institutional fashion. As can be seen, after the founding of the Association, we have every intention to reach out to strengthen our studies, vision and exchanges with the far-off medieval Europe. Lately, we explore the vista of developing East-West relationships during the three periods concerned of our Association. Much remains to be developed.

Conference Organizers



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