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Alloparenting Adolescents: Evaluating the Social and Biological Impacts of Leprosy on Young People in Saxo-Norman England (9th to 12th Centuries AD) through Cross-Disciplinary Models of Care

Filipek, Kori L.; Roberts, Charlotte; Gowland, Rebecca L.; Tucker, Katie

Alloparenting Adolescents: Evaluating the Social and Biological Impacts of Leprosy on Young People in Saxo-Norman England (9th to 12th Centuries AD) through Cross-Disciplinary Models of Care Thumbnail


Authors

Kori Filipek k.l.filipek-ogden@durham.ac.uk
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Katie Tucker



Contributors

Ellen J. Kendall
Editor

Ross Kendall
Editor

Abstract

The majority of historical sources describe past attitudes towards people with leprosy as negative, focussing on ostracism and damnation, and this is thought to have impacted on the care that sufferers received. More recent historical and archaeological evidence challenges this longstanding perspective, portraying a very different view of care for those with this potentially debilitating and disfiguring disease (Roberts 2002; Rawcliffe 2006; Roberts 2013; Roberts 2018). This paper aims to explore the social and biological impacts of adolescents with leprosy in SaxoNorman England (9th – 12th centuries AD). The intersection of youth, chronic infection, aspects of care (inclusive of medical, surgical, and daily support), and cultural identity has only been tangentially explored in the past (e.g see Redfern and Gowland 2011; Roberts and Bernard 2015; Lewis 2017). Studies that integrate these entwined themes can, however, provide a more holistic view of societal responses to wider encultured disease identities. This study utilises multiple lines of evidence for medical care and social treatment to evaluate the validity of dominant historical narratives about leprosy, i.e. that people in the past with leprosy were not cared for or treated well. In order to achieve this, the notion of past requirements of care and treatment through an alloparental model will be introduced. This is followed by a review of the existing historiographical evidence for medical care for young people in the medieval period to better understand systems of care provision and parental reactions to their sick children at this time. Discussions of leprosy in young people in the present and past will help contribute to longitudinal views of the biological impacts of leprosy and help the necessity for care in relation to certain pathological responses (i.e. the manifestation of lepromatous leprosy). To apply this framework to the past, palaeopathological and archaeological evidence from adolescent individuals excavated from the North Cemetery of St. Mary Magdalen leprosy hospital will be analysed. The presence of both leprosy and alloparental care for adolescents in the Saxo-Norman transition at this hospital is demonstrated. Finally, the construction of a theoretical model of required clinical care and provisions, such as the Index of Care framework, helps interpret the evidence for care in alloparental institutions such as leprosaria. The treatment of people with leprosy in the medieval period is often cited as a justification for the continuing stigma and community expulsion of family members with leprosy in some parts of the world (World Health Organization 2015). Therefore, it is worth examining the social milieu of this disease in which young people with leprosy in the past lived, and the models of care and treatment that may be interpreted from these data in order to dispel this longstanding stigma.

Citation

Filipek, K. L., Roberts, C., Gowland, R. L., & Tucker, K. (2021). Alloparenting Adolescents: Evaluating the Social and Biological Impacts of Leprosy on Young People in Saxo-Norman England (9th to 12th Centuries AD) through Cross-Disciplinary Models of Care. In E. J. Kendall, & R. Kendall (Eds.), The Family in Past Perspective: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Familial Relationships Through Time (30-57). Routledge

Online Publication Date May 30, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Aug 17, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 30, 2022
Publisher Routledge
Pages 30-57
Edition 1st ed.
Book Title The Family in Past Perspective: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Familial Relationships Through Time
Chapter Number 3
Publisher URL https://www.routledge.com/The-Family-in-Past-Perspective-An-Interdisciplinary-Exploration-of-Familial/Kendall-Kendall/p/book/9781032015101

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