Registration Open: ‘Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts’, 11 Sept 2015.

Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts

Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Lilybank Gardens

University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ

9am-6pm, Friday 11 September 2015

Registration is open for ‘Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts’ conference, to be hosted by the University of Glasgow on  Friday 11 Sept 2015.  Thanks to funding from the Wellcome Trust, there is no fee to attend the conference, but if you wish to attend then please download this Registration Form and email it to the conference committee at  In the meantime do follow us on Twitter @ParatextMatters, and follow our website.

This interdisciplinary conference draws together two emerging and complementary areas of research in the medical humanities: book history (as it pertains to medical texts), and the study of medical paratexts. We understand paratext as the apparatus of graphic communication: title pages, prefaces, illustrations, marginalia, and publishing details which act as mediators between text and reader. Discussing the development of medical paratexts across scribal, print and digital media, from the medieval period to the twenty-first century, the conference will take place on Friday 11 September 2015 at the University of Glasgow.

From Christina Lee and Freya Harrison’s discovery of the MRSA-combatting properties of an Anglo-Saxon recipe, to the increasing popularity of Ian Williams’ Graphic Medicine as a teaching tool for medical students, current research into the intersections between medicine, text, and image is producing dynamic and unexpected results (Thorpe: 2015; Taavitsainen: 2010; Couser: 2009; Cioffi: 2009; Díaz-Vera: 2009). With this conference, our keynote speakers will encompass collections-based approaches to medical humanities research (Prof. Jeremy Smith); the use of modern medical knowledge to inform medieval material research (Dr Deborah Thorpe); and creative approaches to medical humanities and contemporary medical practice. Recent years have seen several conferences and publications on paratextual research, and a range of events orientated around literature and medicine, but there is little crossover between the two fields. We propose that the breadth of research into medical book history in the medieval and early-modern period will prompt productive and innovative overlaps with work on modern medical paratexts and graphic novels. By focusing exclusively on medical paratexts, our aim is to establish an interdisciplinary network of scholars interested in graphic communication and medical practice. In addition to our keynote speakers and roundtable discussion, Glasgow’s Special Collections department have agreed to curate a display of medical marvels, medieval to modern, to coincide with the conference, introduced by Dr Bob McLean.

The conference venue, the Sir Alwyn Williams Building, is fully accessible. If you have any questions, please email the organising committee (Dr Hannah Tweed, Dr Diane Scott, and Dr Johanna Green) at, or contact us via @ParatextMatters. We look forward to welcoming you to Glasgow!

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