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@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner I'll create in a bit a new (short) thread listing the top studies on what we know now about the Black Death. Here, let me respond to two points in the present thread: 1) how historians divide history into "periods"; & 2) "silver linings" interpretations of catastrophes.
@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner 1) So, did the Black Death end the Middle Ages & usher in the Renaissance? A: it's really hard to get any 2 scholars of the centuries btw ca 1300 & ca 1600 to agree on where to draw the line btw "medieval" & "early modern," or even whether a meaningful line is to be drawn at all.
@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner So the following answer is just what I do in my own teaching & research. I'm a Europeanist by training & practice, so yes, I think there's a medieval/early modern divide. But more than that, I've moved into #GlobalHistory work the past decade, & that tells me the divide is real.
@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner There's no single year, or even decade, that works for all questions. But I agree w/ Bruce Campbell (in a work cited elsewhere in response to @greg_jenner, cambridge.org/core/books/gre…) that global climatic changes that ushered in the Little Ice Age seem to be correlated w/ lots else.
@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner And I do think the Black Death can be correlated w/ climate shifts going on at the time, though not in the way that Campbell claims in his book. (Look for more on that in the coming months. In the meantime, see work from the Dantean Anomaly project: dantean.hypotheses.org/about.)
@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner Rather than "causing" the Black Death, I'd say that climate shifts allowed a spillover event (disturbance of local plague reservoirs) to amplify and then be sustained over the next 4-500 years in what we now call the #2ndPlaguePandemic. So yes, a real, permanent shift occurred.
@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner 2) As to the "silver linings" argument--the idea that "we got the Renaissance b/c of the Black Death"--aside from the morally obnoxious idea that death & suffering of millions can ever be waved away as being "okay," there is simple historical accuracy to be reckoned with.
@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner As I just noted upthread, plague came to much of Eurasia (& also Africa: sciencemag.org/news/2019/03/b…) in the 13th & 14th centuries. And then *it stayed*. That "Renaissance" people want to invoke was punctuated by continuing outbreaks of plague. The stories you've been hearing ...
@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner ... of late about how much work Shakespeare or Newton got done "during a plague outbreak" ... yes, that was the same plague that came to Europe w/ the Black Death: nature.com/articles/s4146…. Plague also drove the early modern experiences in the Ottoman world & China. And maybe ...
@LucyMangan @prof_gabriele @greg_jenner .. many other places we haven't investigated yet. So spare me glowing reports of how "good" things were in the 15th, 16th, & 17th cents. Lots of excellent recommendations for "pandemic reading" have already been made by fellow historians of medicine. See twitter.com/i/lists/123325…
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