CFP: Edited Collection, ‘Disability and the Medieval Cults of Saints’

Disability and the Medieval Cults of Saints: Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Approaches


  • Stephanie Grace-Petinos
  • Leah Pope Parker
  • Alicia Spencer-Hall

Deadline for abstracts: Monday 1st October 2018

We invite abstract submissions for 7,500-word essays to be included in an edited volume on the topic of Disability and the Medieval Cults of Saints. Because saints’ cults in the Middle Ages centralized the body-those of the saints themselves, those of devotees, and the idea of the body on earth and in the afterlife-scholars of medieval disability frequently find that our best sources are those that also deal with saints and sanctity. This volume therefore seeks to foster and assemble a wide range of approaches to disability in the context of medieval saints’ cults. We seek contributions
spanning a variety of fields, including history, literature, art history, archaeology, material culture, histories of science and medicine, religious history, etc. We especially encourage contributions that extend beyond Roman Christianity (including non-Christian concepts of sanctity) and that extend beyond Europe/the West.

For the purposes of this volume, we define “disability” as broadly including physical impairment, diversity of bodily forms, chronic illness, neurodiversity (mental illness, cognitive impairment, etc), sensory impairment, and any other variation in bodily form or ability that affected medieval individuals’ role and treatment in their communities. We are open to topics spanning the medieval period both temporally and geographically, but also inclusive of late antiquity and the early modern era. The editors
envision essays falling into three units: saints with disabilities; saints interacting with disability; and theorizing sanctity/disability.

We welcome proposals on topics including, but not limited to:

  • Phenomenology of saints’ cults with respect to disability, e.g. pilgrimage, feast days, liturgy, etc;
  • Materiality of sanctity involved in reliquaries, shrines, and relics;
  • Doctrinal approaches to disability in relation to sanctity and holiness;
  • Sanctity and bodies in the archaeological record;
  • Intersections of disability and race/gender/sexuality/etc in hagiography, art, and material culture;
  • Healing miracles and disabling miraculous punishments;
  • Cross-cultural approaches to sanctity and disability;
  • Saints who wrote about disability;
  • Specific saints with connections to concepts of disability, e.g. Margaret of Antioch, Cosmas and Damian, Francis of Assisi, Dymphna, etc;
  • Theorizing sanctity in relation to disability; and
  • Saintly figures in non-hagiographic genres.


1st Oct 2018 – Proposals due

31st Oct 2018 – Replies sent to proposals

30th Nov 2018 – Volume proposal submitted to press (contributors will provide short abstracts and bios)

31st May 2019 – Essays due from contributors

30th Aug 2019 – Editors deliver extensive feedback to contributors

15th Jan 2020 – Revised essays due from contributors

3rd April 2020 – Full volume manuscript delivered to press

Please submit abstracts of 300-400 words, along with a short author bio and a description of any images you anticipate wanting to include in your essay, to the editors at by Monday 1st October 2018.

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