The Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic project is happy to present two recent publications resulting from its annual conferences: Histories of Post-Mortem Contagion and Plague and the City. With emphasis on visual aspects of medical history the two volumes explore key themes in the history of epidemic diseases, epidemiology and public health. The first volume examines the history of medical ideas about the infectiousness of human corpses and their social impact from the Black Death to the recent Ebola epidemic. The second volume examines the history of framing plague as an urban disease and of the resulting policies as well as the epistemic impact of this epidemiological representation across the ages.
Histories of Post-Mortem Contagion: Infectious Corpses and Contested Burials (London: Plagrave Macmillan 2018)
Editors: Lynteris, Christos, Evans, Nicholas
This edited volume draws historians and anthropologists together to explore the contested worlds of epidemic corpses and their disposal. Why are burials so frequently at the center of disagreement, recrimination and protest during epidemics? Why are the human corpses produced in the course of infectious disease outbreaks seen as dangerous, not just to the living, but also to the continued existence of society and civilization? Examining cases from the Black Death to Ebola, contributors challenge the predominant idea that a single, universal framework of contagion can explain the political, social and cultural importance and impact of the epidemic corpse.
Plague and the City (London & New York: Routledge, 2018)
Editors: Lukas Engelmann, John Henderson and Christos Lynteris
Plague and the City uncovers discourses of plague and anti-plague measures in the city during the medieval and early modern periods, and explores the connection between plague and urban environments including attempts by professional bodies to prevent or limit the outbreak of epidemic disease. Bringing together leading scholars of plague working across different historical periods, this book provides an inter-disciplinary study of plague in the city across time and space. The chapters cover a wide range of periods, geographical locations and disciplinary approaches but all seek to answer significant questions, including whether common motives can be identified, and how far knowledge about plague was based on an understanding of the urban space. It also examines how maps and photographs contribute to understanding plague in the city through exploring the ways in which the relationship between plague and the urban environment has been visualised, from the poisoned darts of plague winging their way towards their victims in the votive pictures from the Renaissance, to the mapping of the spread of disease in late nineteenth-century Bombay and photographing Honolulu’s great plague fire in 1900.
Research leading to these publications was funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant (under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme/ERC grant agreement no 336564) for the project Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic (PI Christos Lynteris).