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Edmon Low Library

Jennifer Borland

Author of "Visualizing Household Health: Medieval Women, Art, and Knowledge in the Régime du corps"

February 6, 2023

Jennifer Borland is Professor of Art History in the Department of Art, Graphic Design, and Art History, and Interim Director of the Center for the Humanities at OSU. She specializes in medieval art and architecture, teaching courses ranging from medieval European and Islamic art history to gender in visual culture. Her book, Visualizing Household Health: Medieval Women, Art, and Knowledge in the Régime du corps was published in 2022 by Penn State University Press. Her research interests include medieval medical and scientific imagery, medievalism and collecting, materiality, audience and reception, and representations of gender. That work has been published in a wide range of collections and journals including Word & Image, Gesta, postmedieval, and Art History Pedagogy & Practice. She is a founding member of the Material Collective, a managing editor for the journal Different Visions, and a graduate of the HERS Institute.

In "Visualizing Household Health," art historian Jennifer Borland uses the Régime du corps to show how gender and health care converged within the medieval household, exploring how household members interacted with professionalized medicine. This thirteenth-century French health guide would become popular and influential, with nearly 70 surviving copies made over the next 200 years and translations in at least four other languages. Borland focuses on several illustrated versions of the manuscript that contain historiated initials depicting simple scenes related to health care, such as patients’ consultations with physicians, procedures like bloodletting, and foods and beverages recommended for good health. She argues that these images provide important details about the nature of women’s agency in the home—and offer highly compelling evidence that women enacted multiple types of health care. Additionally, she contends, the Régime opens a window onto the history of medieval women as owners, patrons, and readers of books.


Last Updated: 6 February 2023