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Workshop: ‘Worker’s Health and Material Environment in Port Cities (1300-1700)’ (Leiden University and University Ca’ Foscari Venezia)

woensdag 21 juni 2023 - donderdag 22 juni 2023
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden


As connected trade hubs through which a stream of people, goods and ideas passed, Europe’s port cities faced specific public health issues. Certainly after the outbreak of the Second Plague Pandemic in Europe (14th-17th centuries), port cities attempted to reduce disease transmission related to interregional connectivity and the mobility of merchants, workers, soldiers, pilgrims, and trade goods. At the same time, the maritime sector was attracting large, diverse pools of recruits to work on the ships and in the harbour. Health professionals, surgeons and barbers, found employment in the maritime industry, caring for the workers’ health and maintaining the labour pools. The different maritime recruits themselves, travelling to and dwelling in the port cities, had different social and legal statuses, and distinct profiles grounded in environmental medicine. Their working and living conditions could also be starkly different. This workshop explores how port cities and maritime recruits negotiated health policies in their different material environments and how representations of the material environment informed an understanding of workers’ different abilities.

Organisers: Dr. C.V. Weeda (Leiden University) and Marie-Louise Leonard (University Ca’ Foscari Venezia)

ReMA-students are given the opportunity to participate in organising the workshop, attending the sessions and contributing to the discussions. There is a written assignment, to be submitted after the workshop (1500 words). Participation in the organisation is 2 ECTS; the written assignment is a further 1 ECTS. 


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