Plagued Legacies: Rethinking Black Death Narratives


WHEN October 26, 2022
6:30-8 PM WHERE NYUAD Campus, Conference Center Part of "Environment and the Middle East" WHO NYU Abu Dhabi Institute Open to the Public

This talk addresses the lasting legacies of past plagues, in particular the Black Death, because they continue to shape the way we think about new pandemics. We must recognize pandemics as long-term processes and shift our focus beyond epidemic episodes of disruption to better understand how past societies learned to live with diseases. The talk also highlights persistent problems related to pandemics, such as European exceptionalism, triumphalism, and epidemiological orientalism that are not only ubiquitous in the historical scholarship, but also staples of public opinion about pandemics, past and present.

Image credit: Burying Black Death Victims in Tournai, Belgium. Gilles Li Muisis, Annales, Bibliothèque Royal de Belgique, MS 13076-77, f. 24v.

  • Nükhet Varlık, Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University–Newark

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