The Blood Conference


Blood in the medieval and early modern periods was much more than simply red fluid in human veins. Defined diversely by theologians, medics, satirists and dramatists, it was matter, text, waste, cure, soul, God, and the means by which relationships were defined, sacramentalised and destroyed. Blood was also a controversial ingredient in the production of matter, from organic and medical to mechanical and alchemical. Between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries debates about the nature and function of blood raised questions about the limits of identity, God’s will for his creatures, science’s encounter with the self, and the structure of families and communities, and its impact was felt in artistic constructions on stage, in print, and on canvas.

This two and a half day conference will gather early modern and medieval scholars from English, history, art history and medical history, to ask: ‘What is Renaissance blood?’


Wednesday 8th January

14.00 - 16.30 | Registration

14.00 - 15.15 | Tours around the historic observatory at Green Templeton College

15.30 - 16.45 | Panel: Wounds/Cuts/Slashes
Speakers: Hester Lees Jeffries (Cambridge), Lesel Dawson (Bristol), Corinne Saunders (Durham), Larissa Tracy (Longwood University)

17.00 - 18.00 | Drinks Reception hosted by Green Templeton College

18.15 - 19.15 | Keynote Address: Blood of the Grape, Frances Dolan (UC Davis)

Thursday 9th January

8.30 - 9.00 | Registration

9.00 - 10.00 | Panel: Blood, Medicine, Knowledge
Speakers: Angus Gowland (University College London), Kathleen Miller (Trinity College, Dublin), Ben Parsons (Leicester)

10.05 - 11.05 | Panel: Blood, Sacrifice, Ritual
Speakers: Tamara Atkin (Queen Mary University), Chris Stone (Leeds), Joe Moshenska (Cambridge)

11.05 - 11.25 | Coffee Break

11.25 - 12.25 | Roundtable 1: Medieval Theories of Blood

Sarah Star (Toronto), Chera Cole (St Andrews), Madelaine Caudron (Warwick), Rebecca Maryan (Nottingham), Arabella Milbank (Cambridge)

Roundtable 2: Early Modern Theories of Blood

Madeline Ruegg (Berlin), Paul Craddock (Birkbeck), Jessica Sun (Sydney), Aileen Liu (Berkeley), Ashley Inglehart (Indiana), Angelo Lo Conte (Melbourne)

12.25 - 13.25 | Lunch

13.30 - 14.30 | Modern Medicine Session: Transfusion & Hematology Ethics and Practice

Professor Mike Murphy, Consultant Haematologist, National Blood Service and Department of Haematology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, and Professor of
Blood Transfusion Medicine, University of Oxford

Sir David Weatherall, British physician and researcher in molecular genetics, haematology, pathology and clinical medicine

“Ethical and social issues relating to the attempts at controlling the increasing frequency of inherited diseases of the blood”

14.30 - 15.30 | Panel: Royal and Social Blood
Speakers: Margaret Healy (Sussex), Katha rine Craik (Oxford Brookes), Erin Griffey (Auckland)

15.30 - 15.50 | Tea Break

15.50 - 17.05 | Panel: Stage Blood
Speakers: Andrea Stevens (Illinois), Lucy Munro (King's College London), Harry Newman (Kent)

17.05 - 17.25 | Relocate to St John’s Chapel, St Giles

17.30 - 18.05 | Performance: ‘O taste and see’: Eucharistic Blood in Words and Music
David Fuller (Durham) and singers

18.15 - 18.45 | Lecture: Staging the Croxton Play of the Sacrament, Elisabeth Dutton (Fribourg)

18.45 - 19.45 | Performance: The Croxton Play of the Sacrament Dir. by Elisabeth Dutton

Friday 10th January

9.00 - 10.15 | Panel: Bleeding Women
Speakers: Tara Nummedal (Brown), Kaara Peterson (Miami), Sara Read (Loughborough), Barbara Baert (Leuven)

10.20 - 11.20 | Keynote Address: Queer Blood
Helen Barr (Oxford)

11.20 - 11.40 | Coffee Break

11.40 - 12.55 | Panel: Blood and Genre
Speakers: Indira Ghose (Fribourg), William Kerwin (Missouri), Stephen Curtis (Lancaster), Ariane Balizet (Texas Christian University)

12.55 - 14.00 | Lunch

14.00 - 14.30 | Session: Blood Treasures from the Wellcome Trust Archives
Elma Brenner (Wellcome Trust)

14.30 - 15.45 | Panel: Lifeblood
Speakers: Diane Purkiss (Oxford), Chris Laoutaris (The Shakespeare Institute), Matthew Beresford (Hertfordshire), Dolly Jørgensen (Umea)

15.45 - 16.05 | Tea Break

16.05 - 17.05 | Keynote Address: Crediting Bloody Matters: Shakespeare's Bloody Signs
Patricia Parker (Stanford)

17.05 - 18.15 | Panel: Contested Blood
Speakers: Francesco Paolo de Ceglia (Bari), Anne Leone (Notre Dame), Jennifer Rust (Saint Louis), Francesca Matteoni (Leicester)

From 19.15 | Drinks Reception and Banquet at Pembroke


Please visit: for more information.


Oxford Medieval Studies

Audience: Open to all