Campus News - January 28, 2002

Institute offers seminars on plagues
Variety of scholars share observations at Medieval Studies event

UNM's Institute for Medieval Studies will feature a weekend of free seminars, “Plagues of the Middle Ages,” Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1-2 in Anthropology 163.

The seminar will include a series of lectures by history and medical professors who will examine the plague in all its aspects - social, economic, environmental and medical.

The topic is especially relevant to the UNM community because New Mexico continues to suffer from outbreaks of forms of the medieval plagues including the bubonic plague and the Hantavirus.

The Black Death is one topic that fascinates the public. In the space of about a year, 1348-'49, one-third to one-half of Europe’s entire population was wiped out. The scale of the plague’s impact and its precise character remain points of debate and research.

Scholars have attributed to the plague a serious impact on medieval art, literature and scientific inquiry, as well as fundamental changes in ideas about life, death and man’s relationship to God. The economic dislocation alone played a significant role in undermining the ordered society of the medieval world. For many scholars, in fact, the Black Death stands as the dividing line between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Plagues in the Middle Ages engage an array of topics in the humanities. During the seminar, scientists and humanities scholars will be able to directly exchange ideas and observations about the impact of the plague - economic, physical and spiritual.

Friday, Feb. 1

7 p.m.

The Biology of the Plague: Definitions and Parameters, William P. Reed, UNM School of Medicine

7:30 p.m.

Before the Black Death: Famine and Resistance in Medieval Northern Europe, William C. Jordan, Dept. of History Princeton University

Saturday, Feb. 2

9-10 a.m.

Iconographic Images of the Plague, David A. Bennahum, UNM School of Medicine

10:15-11:15 a.m.

God and the Animals: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century, William C. Jordan, Dept. of History Princeton University, (includes a brief musical demonstration)

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Living with Plague: Medical, Governmental and Popular Responses to the Black Death in Italy, Shona Kelly Wray, University of Missouri-Kansas City

12:30 p.m. –2 p.m.

Break

2-3 p.m.

Plague and the Medical Doctor: Helpless and Hopeless? Peter Murray Jones, King’s College, Cambridge University, UK

3:15-4:30 p.m.

The Plague and Other Plagues in Contemporary New Mexico: Causes, Transmission, Treatments. A Panel Discussion with Gregory J. Mertz, Moderator, Brian Hjelle and Darwin Palmer

The National Endowment for the Humanities, the Offices of the Associate Provost for Research and the Vice President for Health Sciences are sponsors of this event. The Institute for Medieval Studies is under the aegis of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
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