So much for my plan to do monthly reading updates. I think quarterly might be more feasible. It seems like the fall has flown by and was not as productive as I would have liked. Isn’t that always the way?
So I’m currently working my way through Cameron’s Anglo-Saxon Medicine and then next up will be the brand new second edition of Mitchell’s A History of the Later Roman Empire AD 284-641.
Matilda Holmes, Animals in Saxon and Scandinavian England: Backbones of Economy and Society. Sidestone press, 2014 (reviewed here)
Prokopius, The Secret History and Related Texts. Anthony Kaldellis, ed. Hackett, 2010.
David Quammen. Ebola: A Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus. 2014. (excerpted, adapted and updated from his Spillover)
Setzer, T. J. (2014). Malaria detection in the field of paleopathology: A meta-analysis of the state of the art. Acta Tropica, 140, 97–104. doi:10.1016/j.actatropica.2014.08.010 (summarized here)
Christina Lee. (2014). Invisible enemies: the role of epidemics in the shaping of historical events in the early medieval period in. Social Dimensions of Medieval Disease and Disability, 1–17.
Sallares, R. (2006). Role of environmental changes in the spread of malaria in Europe during the Holocene. Quaternary International, 150(1), 21–27. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2006.01.005
Sallares, R., Bouwman, A., & Anderung, C. (2004). The spread of malaria to Southern Europe in antiquity: new approaches to old problems. Medical History, 48(3), 311–328.
Collins, W. E., & Jeffery, G. M. (2007). Plasmodium malariae: Parasite and Disease. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 20(4), 579–592. doi:10.1128/CMR.00027-07
Schreg, Rainer. (2014) “Ecological Approaches in Medieval Rural Archaeology” European Journal of Archaeology, 17 (1), 83-119.
Flaherty, E. (2014). Assessing the distribution of social–ecological resilience and risk: Ireland as a case study of the uneven impact of famine. Ecological Complexity, 19, 35–45. doi:10.1016/j.ecocom.2014.04.002
SHARPE, W. D., & Isidore of Seville. (1964). Isidore of Seville: the Medical Writings. An English Translation with an Introduction and Commentary. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, 54(2), 1–75.
Carter, R., & Mendis, K. N. (2002). Evolutionary and Historical Aspects of the Burden of Malaria. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 15(4), 564–594. doi:10.1128/CMR.15.4.564-594.2002
I’ve also spent quite a bit of time this autumn reading the pre-print editions of the contributions to Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death edited by Monica Green in the inaugural edition of The Medieval Globe, which I’m honored to be a contributor to. Watch this space for more news on this special issue very soon.
Just a little update on my reading in August. I’ve been jumping around a bit reading on the history of malaria and wetlands. Lots of interesting bits and pieces!
John Aberth. An Environmental History of the Middle Ages: The Crucible of Nature, 2013.
Gregory of Tours (d. 594): Glory of the Confessors
Gregory of Tours (d. 594): The Life of the Fathers
Looking at what diseases people are seeking cures for primarily at the shrines of the saints.
William McNeill, Plagues and Peoples. 1976.
I reread this book about every ten years, so I’m working my way through it over lunch at work at the present. Odd to reread a book I first read in the late 1980s as a student. Its surprising how well it holds up, but it is now out of date in biology, history and anthropology. It really can’t be used to represent modern views on either infectious disease biology or history. We really need a new, updated edition! Just to give a few examples, HIV hadn’t even been identified in 1976 (as McNeill mentions in the preface of the 1998 edition) and antibiotic resistance and ‘(re)emerging infectious diseases’ were not considered critical problems (although both had begun to appear).
Robert Sallares, Malaria and Rome: A History of Malaria in Ancient Italy. 2002 (in progress)
Standout Papers – (more or less in order they were read)
Couser, J. (2010). The Changing Fortunes of Early Medieval Bavaria to 907 ad. History Compass, 8(4), 330–344. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2009.00671.x
King, G., & Henderson, C. (2013). Living cheek by jowl: The pathoecology of medieval York. Quaternary International, xxx, 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.07.032
Förster, F., Großmann, R., Hinz, M., Iwe, K., Kinkel, H., Larsen, A., et al. (2013). Towards mutual understanding within interdisciplinary palaeoenvironmental research: An exemplary analysis of the term landscape. Quaternary International, 312(C), 4–11. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.07.045
Rippon, S. (2009). ‘Uncommonly rich and fertile’ or “not very salubrious?” The Perception and Value of Wetland Landscapes. Landscapes, 10(1), 39–60.
Bankoff, G. (2013). The“English Lowlands” and the North Sea Basin System: A History of Shared Risk. Environment and History, 19(1), 3–37.
Justin T. Noetzel. Monster, Demon, Warrior: St Guthlac and the Cultural Landscape of the Anglo-Saxon Fens. Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Volume 45, 2014, pp. 105-131.
O’Sullivan, L., Jardine, A., Cook, A., & Weinstein, P. (2008). Deforestation, mosquitoes, and ancient Rome: Lessons for today. BioScience, 58(8), 756–760.
Welcome to the 66th edition of On Giant’s Shoulders, the blog carnival for the history of science, medicine and technology! I wish I could pull a bunch of holiday posts out of Santa’s bag, but the blogosphere does not appear to be in the festive mood yet. An anniversary and commemoration mood seems to be prevailing as the end of the year approaches, so for historians this should be a gift!
One thing has become clear from looking at the sources of posts this month is that history of medicine and science has indeed become contagious, no longer limited to just typical blogs. We have traditional bloggers writing feature stories in newspapers and journals, large group blogs, the rise of library, archive and society ‘blogs’, and guest bloggers being invited to give context on blogs, some not normally about history. There are a growing number of options to blog outside of traditional one author blogs.
Marking history in our times
Most of this issue is, of course, on medieval and early modern medicine, but I can’t let a couple of important modern history anniversaries pass unremarked. The H word celebrated 30th anniversary of PCR with two guest posts: the secret life of the laboratory by Charolette Sleigh and bringing meaning to technology by Jean-Baptiste Gouyon. This month one of the great genetics pioneers of the late 20th century, Frederick Sanger passed away. This two time Nobel prize winner made the sequencing of DNA and protein possible. Without Sanger sequencing there is no telling how long the genetic revolution would have been delayed. Originally done with radioactivity, here is a modern fluorescent Sanger for those of you unfamiliar with what sequencing looks like. Festive, isn’t it?
Part of all the remembrances of the JFK assassination , Circulating Now had a post on JFK’s career long support of the foundation and development of the National Library of Medicine. The New York Academy of Medicine featured a post on the WHO’s AIDS posters from the 1987-1995, soon after recognition of the pandemic.
Pathogens and Pandemics
Although not strictly a blog post, the Royal Society has posted podcasts of the November 2013 Ancient DNA conference, including the session by Johannes Kraus whose lab sequenced the East Smithfield plague isolates. While on the topic of plague podcasts, another series of four Ellen McArthur lectures by Bruce Campbell on “The Great Transition: Climate, Disease and Society in the 13th and 14th Centuries”came online earlier in the year but I don’t think has been part of his carnival yet. Listening to these lectures is vital for anyone interested in plague history, environmental or economic history.
Caroline Rance of The Quack Doctor has been featuring a post a day for ADvent on historic ads for medical devices and quack medications. The first ad is for a health jolting chair, you can follow the posts daily from there.
Explore Your Archive featured the strange case of Dr James Barry, a 19th century Inspector General of military hospitals, and the secret revealed at his death.
Jacob Darwin Hamblin hosted the E-Environment roundtable to review two books, Sam White’s The Climate of Rebellion in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (effects of the ‘little ice age’ on the Ottomans) and Alan Mikhail’s Nature and Empire in Ottoman Egypt. E-Environment roundtable issues are open access.
Seb Falk of Astrolabs and Stuff wrote up a seminar summary by Hascok Chan’s on his controversial keynote address from this summer’s International Congress of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine on “Putting Science back into History of Science”.
The January edition of On Giant’s Shoulders will be hosted by Jennifer Evans (@HistorianJen) of Early Modern Medicineon January 16, 2014. Submissions are due to Jennifer directly or to The Renaissance Mathematicus (@rmathematicus) no later than Jan. 15.