Building a Conference: The EAHMH, Bucharest 2017

Anne Hardy, Honorary Professor, History of Public Health, Centre for History in Public Health, LSHTM.

The European Association for the History of Health and Medicine arranges a bi-annual conference in alternate years, either side of the Society for the Social History of Medicine conferences. The EAHMH Scientific Board (SB)met in London, at the LSHTM building in Tavistock Place. On Friday 24 February, to review the submissions for the 2017 conference, which will be held in Bucharest from 30 August to 2 September under the title The Body Politic: States in the History of Medicine and Health.  Despite serious travel disruption caused by Storm Dora, which meant that Frank Huisman The Netherlands) was obliged to attend from home via Skype, most of the SB, together with Carsten Timmerman representing the Society for the Social History of Medicine, gathered in the Jenny Roberts Room promptly on Friday morning.  SB members present represented 7 European countries in all: Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania and Spain.  A total of 114 submissions – 14 complete panels plus 100 individual submissions – were considered.  Greatly to our delight, a considerable number of these, unusually, came from Eastern European scholars. Thje quality of submissions in general was very high.

Each member of the SB had marked up in advance which submissions they considered to be acceptable, and which not.   A read through the list provided a list of unanimous acceptances and rejections without further discussion, and the Board then settled down to discuss the doubtfuls. After prolonged discussions, which took up the better part of the day, all the complete panels were accepted, as well as 88 individual submissions. The task of arranging individual submissions into panels falls to Octavian Buda, the organiser of the Bucharest conference, but panels on states and health policy, women, health and fertility, disability, insanity, abortion and the unborn, medicine and the state, dentistry, regulating behaviours, motherhood, problem citizens, and professional power, were quickly apparent, with numbers of contributions yet to be allocated to other sessions.  The Board then adjourned around 18.00, some to travel home, some for refreshment to the pub round the corner. It was a long day and satisfactory day’s work, and we concluded in the confident expectation that Bucharest 2017 will be a stimulating intellectual experience, as well as offering attendees the opportunity to visit and discover Romania’s beautiful capital city.