2021 – Small cities and health

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If the present indelibly influences the historiography produced in each period, the current health crisis further conditions – regarding the choice of the theme and the circumstances of its realization – the next meeting of the Small Cities in Time Network, to take place in the spring 2021.
Thus, all interested researchers are invited to participate in the Meeting “Small Cities and Health (from the Middle Ages to the Contemporary Era): healthcare, sanitary institutions and urban hygiene policies” to be held on May 6, 7 and 8, 2021 ,in a virtual format.

The goal of this Meeting will be to evaluate how and to what degree societies and authorities (both central and local), managed or failed to promote, in small cities: (i) the concern for collective health, through the recruitment of medical personnel; (ii) the foundation or continued investment in hospital establishments and assistance institutions; (iii) hygiene or protection regulations against epidemics.

It is true that there are countless general and monographic works, developed both within the scope of the history of medicine, of hospital and healthcare institutions or about health policies, as well as within the framework of the history of cities; however, the majority refer to large urban centres, whose sanitary infrastructure is visible and / or the archives have well known and examined for a long time.

It is therefore convenient, according to the aims of the Network, to start gathering and organizing numerous information on this topic, relating to small urban units, often dispersed in student work or in local and regional publications, and to try to answer the question: is there, in this matter as in others, a specific response from small towns?

It is possible that the health problems of small urban centres may have been translated both in the constitution of networks (at least in information, in the case of epidemics) and phenomena of imitation of municipal guidelines, as well as in the establishment of relations with larger nearby cities (for example, those with educational institutions in the health field).

The end of the Middle Ages and the early Modernity introduced the implementation of health strategies in small cities within the framework of the general policies of the States under construction. In more recent periods, in addition to health and hygiene starting to mobilize governments, the legislature, the press, public opinion, later associations and, sometimes, the courts, there are profound developments such as: (i ) the first vaccination campaigns, (ii) the increasing secularization of the health system, (iii) the professionalization of surgery and the presence of health workers in the smallest towns and rural areas; (iv) the growing weight of research, the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare equipment.

The range of issues raised in this Meeting can include monographic, regional or comparative papers, aimed at analyzing sources and / or scientific production already available or, also, in innovative investigations, possibly in the form of works in progress.

Session, papers and poster proposals will be accepted under the following thematic panels:

1 – Hygiene and public health policies in small towns: the action of local governments and central administration.
2 – Urban networks in epidemic contexts: propagation factors and combat strategies
3 – Health and assistance structures in small cities: urban planning, material record, institutions, and agents.
4 – The memory of times of epidemic in small cities: literary and identity revisits.