Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Professors Spend the Summer

Look out Congress Clio-paloozers, the Society for the Social History of Medicine hosted its annual meeting at Durham University (U.K.) this July, complete with a Saturday night Scottish-style Ceilidh. As was made evident by the dancing attempts, historians are better in the archives than on the dance floors, but it didn't stop Professors Smith and Dyck from dosey-doeing with the best of them. Aside from the folk music, conference attendees also witnessed the annual miners' march through Durham. Brass bands marched through the town carrying union banners; miners and their families filled the streets while onlookers spilled out of the pubs to pay tribute to the now-dead Northern tradition of coal mining. Although the festivities left precious time for scholarship, we left our mark by anchoring the conference with back-to-back presentations on gender, fertility and reproduction, or rather its lack, in papers about castration in eighteenth-century France followed by a paper about hysterectomies in post-WWII Alberta.

Story Credit: Erika Dyck


1. Professors Dyck and Smith with various academics from Spain, Portugal, the U.S. and the U.K. at a pub.

Image Credit: A Yorkshire Miner who kindly took a photo using Professor Dyck's camera. His troop of miners regaled us with a sing-along and refused to let us leave unless we sang a song. Did we? Or didn't we? What happened in Durham, stays in Durham.

2. and 3. Durham Cathedral, with a procession of the miners going into the Cathedral for a special service to honour miners who died in mining accidents.

Image Credit: Erika Dyck.

* N.B. There are no images of the dancing. Sadly, all such images have been blurred in a terrible photography accident.