During the 18th century, health became an important and much-debated issue. Illness was increasingly perceived as a problem that could have a collective dimension and economic impact; but there was also widespread interest in science and medicine. A number of highly successful books, such as those by Tissot (Avis au peuple sur sa santé, 1761) and Buchan (Domestic Medicine, 1769), and a great variety of specialized journals found their audience during the Enlightenment.
Physicians, moreover, published articles, observations, and letters in popular periodicals making health-related knowledge accessible to a wide audience. If the publication of books by physicians could manifest a pedagogical intention or be an occasion to denounce quackery or a means of legitimization, should we not consider different functions for articles published in periodicals?
The issues addressed focus on two main points:
1. Specialized and generalist journals facing the circulation of medical data
The purpose is to look at journals as places where physicians could find information, as well as publish their own research. An important feature of periodicals is that they make data from various sources available to the general public. In the 18th century, this phenomenon was amplified by the fact that the writers took up and translated texts published by their colleagues in other countries. The circulation of news and knowledge in 18th -century Europe deserves to be examined in light of the local context of its adoption and the repurposing for other readers.
2. Health, a form of public knowledge?
The medical advice and new discoveries reported in the press, as well as the controversies and participation of the general public in medical issues (e.g., debates over smallpox inoculation, therapeutic uses of electricity and mesmerism, or breastfeeding) compel not to focus exclusively on the issue of medical knowledge, but to integrate the broader issue of health for a variety of different audiences. Thus, journals become a place for exchange among physicians, but also for providing information to a broad audience.
Issue VIII/2023 of “Diciottesimo Secolo” includes three additional open sections: “Saggi” (Essays), “Note critiche” (Critical Notes), and “Recensioni” (Reviews). Submissions in the “Essays” section are subject to double blind peer review.
The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2023.
The length of the texts must not exceed the following numbers of characters (notes and spaces included):
Critical Notes: 25,000;
Contributions must be sent to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org together with a brief CV of the proposer.
The texts can be written in Italian, English and French.
Papers for the “Essays” section must be accompanied by an abstract in English (max 1500 characters, spaces included), and by the indication of five keywords in English.