Medieval Historians Taking Genomics into Account

At the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo (Kzoo) last month, I couldn't help feeling that we have reached a turning point. I went to four sessions that engaged in genomics, human and/or bacterial, in some way.¬†Granted, these are a tiny proportion of the 500+ sessions offered, but I have learned that if you... Continue Reading →

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Landscapes of Disease Themed Issue

For the last couple years, I have been writing about a landscape-based approach to the study of infectious disease in general and historic epidemics in particular. When I first wrote about Lambin et al.'s now classic paper "Pathogenic landscapes" nearly three years ago, I did not know then that it would be so influential in... Continue Reading →

A winter’s worth of work

Its well into spring now and my blogging has perhaps hit an all time low. I have been working on a project that I will write about more later this year. I've been reading a lot about environmental history, not the usual material for this blog. Some of it is listed below. It's a sample... Continue Reading →

The Spotty History of Chicken Pox

For its extreme antiquity, the virus that causes chicken pox has a surprising sparse documented history. ¬†The earliest clear reference to the virus is actually to an emergence of its latent form as shingles, also called zoster. The ancient Greeks called it zoster after the word for girdle, while shingles comes from the latin word... Continue Reading →

Malaria Near the Arctic Circle

When I think of Finland, malaria just doesn't normally come to mind. Although northern climes often have swarms of mosquitoes, its hard to imagine mosquito-borne infections gaining much traction in the short summer season. Yet defying imagination, malaria has thrived in northern Finland, Sweden and Russia near the arctic circle in the past. In the... Continue Reading →

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