Article ID: CBB001220596

“nit mehr alls sein burger, sonder alls ein frembder”. Fremdheit und Aussatz in frühneuzeitlichen Reichsstädten (2011)


This paper provides insight into interdependent processes by which leprosy and foreignness were constructed in early modern Germany. The results are based on a case study and further source-samples from Imperial towns of the Swabian and Franconian district. As it seems the early modern period was characterized by an ambivalent attitude towards lepers resulting in a variety of ways of inclusion and of exclusion for these persons: The separation from certain forms of social life in the towns (and in the villages belonging to the respective territory) followed the "suspicion" by other inhabitants caused by physical "signs" and the confirmed diagnoses of leprosy by medical experts. Such alienation from one community was juxtaposed by a right to enter the towns in rather specific circumstances as group of alms-beggars or part of a festive community and to join the community of leprosaria. The admission to such houses on the other hand was associated with the status of a burgher, a status, however, which could not be gained by everybody and was not fixed for life but was flexible. We found evidence that the status of leprosarium-"burgher" could be negotiated, interchanged, abandoned by lepers or be granted, refused, denied, suspended by the authorities--temporarily and permanently. By such means affiliation and foreignness were constructed. Preliminary analysis of numbers at ceremonies suggest that a large number of lepers was mobile--whether voluntarily or forced has still to be found out. And they represented the double fold estranged who, albeit, were temporarily included into the celebrating or commemorating community. Such forms of inclusion of the excluded, on the other hand, caused suspicion of simulation which became increasingly the preoccupation of the authorities.


Description On the “interdependent processes by which leprosy and foreignness were constructed in early modern Germany.” (from the abstract)

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Authors & Contributors
Rankin, Alisha Michelle
Lindemann, Mary E.
Hellyer, Marcus A.
Demaitre, Luke E.
Stein, Claudia L'Engle
Warde, Paul
Social History of Medicine
History of Education Quarterly
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Cambridge University Press
University of Chicago Press
University of Notre Dame Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Harvard University
Medicine and society
Physicians; doctors
Disease and diseases
Medical education and teaching
Anna of Saxony
Dorothea of Mansfeld, Countess
Elizabeth of Hesse, Dutchess, Princess of Saxony
Billich, Anton Günther
Erastus, Thomas
Libavius, Andreas
Time Periods
Early modern
17th century
16th century
18th century
15th century
London (England)
Venice (Italy)
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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