Disease and Discrimination in Colonial Atlantic America

Reviewed by Michelle Ziegler Dale Hutchinson. Disease and Discrimination: Poverty and Pestilence in Colonial Atlantic America. University of Florida Press, 2016. $85 Dale Hutchinson's latest book fits into a recent trend of a more critical analysis of the role disease played in the demographic collapse of Native Americans in the Colonial period. After spending most of... Continue Reading →

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CFP: Contagions sessions at the International Congress for Medieval Studies 2018

by Michelle Ziegler Contagions: The Society for Historic Infectious Disease Studies has been given the opportunity of organizing three sessions at next year's International Congress for Medieval Studies. This is the equivalent of a full day at the Congress. The Congress will be held from May 10 to May 13, 2018, at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo... Continue Reading →

An Anniversary year for Natural Disasters: 1815, 1665, and 1315

There are major natural disasters every year. In the last year alone we have had the major earthquake in Nepal just in the last couple days and a historic epidemic of Ebola. It's too soon to tell how these latest disasters will seen by history and effect historical interpretations. This year there are three natural... Continue Reading →

An Unnatural History of Emerging Infections

Ron Barrett and George Armelagos. An Unnatural History of Emerging Infections. Oxford University Press, 2013 (e-book) This is not a traditional review. In keeping with this blog's function as my shared file cabinet, this post will be something like a précis /notes with a few of  my comments in italics. Medical anthropologists Ron Barrett and George Aremelagos... Continue Reading →

Leptin: Linking Malnutrition and Vulnerability to Infection

The correlation between malnutrition and vulnerability to infection has been well established (discussed previously here). While the immune dysfunction could be characterized it was not until the last 10-15 years that an exact mechanism began to resolve. It all began with the discovery of a new hormone called leptin from an unexpected place, adipose tissue... Continue Reading →

Famine and Epidemics Come Hand in Hand

After many natural disasters, famines and epidemics quickly follow with depressing predictability. It is not just a coincidence related to the damaged infrastructure and loss of stored foodstuffs. It has long been thought that there is a direct link between malnutrition and immune suppression, but the mechanism has been,   and is still,  poorly understood.  It... Continue Reading →

Famine and Epidemic Anthrax, Saint-Domingue (Haiti), 1770

Earthquakes have brought devastation on the Port-au-Prince region many times in the last 300 years. The 1770 earthquake was stronger and relatively as destructive as the 2010 quake (Ker, 2010). It also was centered near Port-au-Prince and to the west of the city.   Ship captain accounts of the earthquake in the Boston Evening-Post from 9... Continue Reading →

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