Personal tools

Information zum Seitenaufbau und Sprungmarken fuer Screenreader-Benutzer: Ganz oben links auf jeder Seite befindet sich das Logo der JLU, verlinkt mit der Startseite. Neben dem Logo kann sich rechts daneben das Bannerbild anschließen. Rechts daneben kann sich ein weiteres Bild/Schriftzug befinden. Es folgt die Suche. Unterhalb dieser oberen Leiste schliesst sich die Hauptnavigation an. Unterhalb der Hauptnavigation befindet sich der Inhaltsbereich. Die Feinnavigation findet sich - sofern vorhanden - in der linken Spalte. In der rechten Spalte finden Sie ueblicherweise Kontaktdaten. Als Abschluss der Seite findet sich die Brotkrumennavigation und im Fussbereich Links zu Barrierefreiheit, Impressum, Hilfe und das Login fuer Redakteure. Barrierefreiheit JLU - Logo, Link zur Startseite der JLU-Gießen Direkt zur Navigation vertikale linke Navigationsleiste vor Sie sind hier Direkt zum Inhalt vor rechter Kolumne mit zusaetzlichen Informationen vor Suche vor Fußbereich mit Impressum

Document Actions

Online Conference: "Authority and Medical Expertise: Health as a Social Good and Political Argument in Eastern Europe, Russia and Beyond"

International Historical Conference of the German Association for East European Studies in cooperation with the Herder-Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe and the German-Polish Society for the History of Medicine

Venue: Virtual meeting

October 20-21, 2021

Healers have always held privileged, sometimes prominent positions in human communities, just as it has always been one of the tasks of political leaders to protect the life and limb of their subjects. Medical expertise in the broadest sense can thus be defined as social capital, which in turn must be harnessed by rulers, especially in 'health crises', in order to maintain their legitimacy. This close relationship between rulership and medical expertise – however it may be recognized – has been clearly evident at least since the "Black Death" in the mid-14th century. The fight against epidemics has, in particular, become a political issue worldwide. In line with the authorization of university medicine in the modern era, a discourse began in Western and Central Europe around the "medical police" and the "medicus politicus," whose concepts and practices were adapted in Eastern Europe. Since numerous epidemics (plague, cholera, and not least corona) have been carried from the "East" to the "West," the Western and Central European view has, in turn, been shaped in a special way.

The COVID-19 pandemic – as an incentive for this conference - has not only refocused questions around the health of individuals, but it has also brought into focus the question of the public, and thus political, approach to health. We are currently experiencing for example the precarious difference between scientifically testing and politically licensing vaccines, and finally the acceptance of vaccination in general and special vaccines in particular in the population. The awareness of these issues has never been greater than it is now. From an historical perspective, however, the politization of health issues and of health expert knowledge does not seem unusual: Health issues have always been used as an important tool to legitimize rulers and have, therefore, tended to be politicized. In addition, health policy, for example, around the construction and support of hospitals and doctors, has also played an important role in domestic politics; these measures clarify the relationship of those in power to the population. What measures are taken for disease prevention? What supportive, social regulations are put in place?

In light of these exemplary questions, the aim of the conference is to provide the opportunity to discuss, with an historicizing perspective, the social relevance of health politics and the interdependencies between political authorities, agency and medical expertise in Eastern Europe and Russia as well as the neighbouring regions such as the Caucasus.

Possible topics therefore include:

  • relation of political authority and expertise (e.g. authoritarianism and expertise);
  • health as a political argument and political strategies of (medical) experts;
  • relation of health politics and individual rights;
  • political handling of disease/health, effects on social groups;
  • its impact of on ethnic, religious, and other minorities;
  • knowledge transfer and adaptation as a political strategy;
  • health policies and social change;
  • the role of prevention and social policy as indicators of societal values, but also of legitimacy deficits.
  • the interpretation of the “East” as a source of epidemics

The conference language will be English.

Conference program