Health, disease and epidemics – panel at the ECAS 2023

ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Julia Shaw and Vitus Angermeier will host a joint panel at the ECSAS 2023 in Torino. The full title is: “Health, disease and epidemics: multidisciplinary perspectives on the socio-ecology of medicine in pre-modern South Asia”.


The ongoing climate, biodiversity, and pandemic crises, influenced by increasingly unsustainable human-animal interactions in a globalized world, have intensified scholarly interest in relationships between human and environmental health. Diachronic perspectives on such matters increasingly characterize research agendas within Anthropocene Studies, and Environmental Humanities although integrated archaeological and text-based investigations of such human:non-human:environmental engagements and their health outcomes in antiquity are rare. Further, scholarly studies of health, disease and epidemics within the history of medicine often only touch on South Asia or omit the region altogether. Moreover, the topic of pre-modern public health and its socio-ecological underpinnings is still marginal to South Asian Studies.
This panel will examine aspects of public health, illness and disease in pre-modern South Asia from a range of social, cultural and ecological perspectives. Bridging Indology, archaeology and the broader historical and social sciences, it aims to stimulate interdisciplinary exchange on:

  • The history and archaeology of epidemics and infectious diseases.
  • Socio-cultural, religious, and medical responses to illness, disease transmission and control.
  • Socio-ritual and hygiene-based constructions of purity and pollution and their relevance for health maintenance.
  • Ascetical traditions of socio-physical distancing and their implications for public health control.
  • Ecology, climate and air quality as factors in models of disease, health and wellbeing.
  • Social, environmental and climatic variables of zoonotic diseases.
  • Chronic illness, disability, and social stigmatisation.

Submission of papers will be possible between November 15th 2022 and January 15th 2023. For more details on the conference, please visit the website