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Staff photo Oana-Maria Cojocaru

Oana-Maria Cojocaru

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A, Humanisthuset, HE126 Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå

I am a historian dealing with children and childhood, and family life in Byzantium. I defended my PhD dissertation on representations of childhood in Byzantium in 2016 at the University of Oslo, where I was part of the international project Tiny Voices from the Past: New Perspectives on Childhood in Early Europe (2013-2017). As a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, I am exploring medieval perceptions and conceptions of childhood disability in Byzantium, and the way children with various mental and physical impairments were treated within the social spheres.

In order to capture the variety of attitudes and individual experiences of disability in childhood, I explore primarily the healing narratives included in the Byzantine hagiographies of the 8th to the 12th centuries, but also analyze legal and medical texts, as well as some historical writings that document Byzantine mentalities concerning children with disabilities.

The main approach I follow in the project is analyzing the sources by making use of the theory of intersectionality. This framework, which aims to understand how different forms of social stratification (class, race, age, gender, disability) are interwoven together in their impact on the most marginal members of society, is useful in differentiating between the experiences of and attitudes towards disabled children depending on social categories to which they belonged.

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