The field of infectious disease studies has been transformed in the past decade because findings from palaeogenetics (aDNA) have allowed questions to move beyond “What was the disease?” to highly nuanced studies of disease transmission, mortality estimates, and zoonotic connections.
While at the moment, no pathogen aDNA has yet come from the medieval Islamicate world, scholars are rediscovering the wealth of evidence for the experience of plague and other infectious diseases throughout the medieval period. Moreover, because of its geography and central role in networks of trade, not to mention the extraordinary wealth of its medical tradition | and pharmaceutical capacity, the Islamicate world is central in every respect to studies of pre-modern Global Health.
The last general survey on the Black Death in the Islamicate world was published 45 years ago. Other diseases have never received any monographic treatment at all. In the midst of our own new pandemic, it is time for new understandings to be brought together.
This panel takes a “global” approach to the history of infectious diseases, placing the experiences of the Islamicate world at the center of Afro-Eurasian networks that circulated people, products, and pathogens. It will gather scholars working on any aspect of infectious disease histories, with special focus on the First and Second Plague Pandemics.
Topics may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Newly discovered or edited texts on plague or other infectious diseases
- Commentaries and paratexts of plague treatises, showing their continued uses
- Networks of discourse within and beyond the Islamicate world that shared information about medicine or disease events
- Biographical approaches that set the medical writings or practices of individuals into larger intellectual frameworks
- Routes and roads: networks of trade that contributed to infectious disease proliferation
- Social impacts of epidemics
- Infectious diseases in medical historiography: why we tell the stories that we tell
Joint presentations are welcome, even encouraged, as a way to expand our comparative understanding of disease networks.
IMC 2023 is currently planning to offer hybrid options; please indicate on your abstract whether you plan to attend in person or virtually.
Please send a 250-word abstract by 15 September 2022 to:
- Monica H. Green email@example.com), or
- Nahyan Fancy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Questions? Need bibliographical suggestions on the latest work in the field? Feel free to write.