Purpose

Throughout history, debates about the nature and function of blood have raised questions about the limits of identity, God’s will, science’s encounter with the self, and the structure of families and communities. So that we can better understand the belief systems, rhetoric, and scientific conceptions that have contributed to the complex idea of blood, The Blood Project invites scholars from a range of disciplines to share their thinking and to carve out a new area of research.

Through interdisciplinary and collaborative research the project asks:

  • What historicized vision of humanity can an examination of blood expose?
  • How reciprocal was the relationship between popular and specialist representations of blood and to what effect?
  • Can studies of blood provide us with a new methodology for interdisciplinary scholarship?
  • What is the legacy of medieval/early modern/Enlightenment perceptions of blood?
  • Which popular belief systems have endured, and how have specialist understandings of blood been influenced by them?
  • What are the competing perceptions and theories of blood today, and what can they tell us about contemporary views of the self?
  • How does modern medicine use language to describe blood to patients and why?

The first forum for posing these questions is The Blood Conference in January, 2014, which focuses on the medieval and Renaissance periods.