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VIRTUAL: Pre-Modern Pandemics in History, Science, and Popular Media

Merle Eisenberg, History; National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center

April 7, 2020 · 12:00 pm2:00 pm · via Zoom

Program in Medieval Studies

A Late Antique, Medieval, and Byzantine (LAMB) Workshop

This topical seminar, entitled “Pre-Modern Pandemics in History, Science, and Popular Media,” will be led by Princeton’s own Dr. Merle Eisenberg, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, MD.

To join the meeting, go to: https://princeton.zoom.us/j/190833037

The ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic has significantly increased interest in past pandemics and scholars and journalists have written countless articles in the last  few weeks comparing our current pandemic to various historical pandemics. Most of the popular press articles rely on outdated historical ideas about pandemics or on simplistic scientific explanations. This seminar offers a way for historians to contribute to the discussion of pandemics by using scientific approaches to make historical arguments. The goal is for all of us to discuss useful ways to approach questions of disease and pandemics, rather than having me lecture.

The seminar will begin with the discussion of a recent science audience article on the Justinianic Plague (c. 541-750 CE) co-written by Dr. Eisenberg: both its pros and cons. Various topics of interest to discuss might include: building and using scientific datasets, making historical arguments with data, writing for a scientific audience, marketing your work to press, and how you could discuss pandemics today.

Dr. Eisenberg encourages attendees to find the Supplementary Information document discussing how the information was compiled. More about the Justinianic Plague can also be found in a complementary history audience article in Past & Present.

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