Roundtable on Campbell’s Climate, Disease, and Society in the Late Medieval World

by Michelle Ziegler Bruce Campbell. The Great Transition: Climate, Disease, and Society in the Late Medieval World. Cambridge University Press, 2016. When I first learned that Bruce Campbell was working on this book, I wondered if it would be the first grand synthesis of the new paradigm. Although there have been some very good regional... Continue Reading →

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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 →

Plague Dialogues: Monica Green and Boris Schmid on Plague Phylogeny (II)

Monica H. Green (monica.green@asu.edu,@MonicaMedHist) is a historian of medieval medicine. An elected Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, she teaches both global history and the global history of health. She was the editor in 2014 of Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death, the inaugural issue of a new journal, The... Continue Reading →

Beyond Germs: Native Depopulation in North America

Beyond Germs: Native Depopulation in North America. Edited by Catherine Cameron, Paul Kelton and Alan Swedlund. University of Arizona Press, 2015. With the number of emerging infectious diseases climbing and new revelations about plague's past, this book is a timely caution to the rhetoric surrounding so-called virgin soil epidemics. This book is the publication of... Continue Reading →

The Black Death in the Ottoman Empire and Ragusan Republic

Nükhet Varlık. Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World: The Ottoman Experience 1347-1600. Cambridge University Press, 2015. Zlata Blažina Tomic and Vesna Blažina  Expelling the Plague: The Health Office and the Implementation of Quarantine in Dubrovnik, 1377-1533. McGill-Queens University Press, 2015.  [Dubrovnik = Ragusa]. [An English edition of  Blažina-Tomić, Zlata. Kacamorti i kuga. Utemeljenje... Continue Reading →

Challenging Virgin Soil Epidemic Assumptions 

The depopulation of Native Americans during the 16th to 18th centuries, one result of the 'Columbian Exchange', has been held up as the ultimate example of virgin soil epidemics. The emphasis put on the 'virginity' of the native population, bordering on biological determinism, has absolved the colonial powers of a multitude of sins. Some archaeologists... Continue Reading →

CFP: Medieval Landscapes of Disease

Call for Papers Medieval Landscapes of Disease 50th International Congress of Medieval Studies Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI   -- May 14-17, 2015  In recognition that diseases are manifestations of their environment, this session seeks papers that place medieval diseases within their environmental context. Just as a seed must be placed in good soil to... Continue Reading →

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