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The Doctors and the Black Death: Reconsidering Expertise in an Age of Pandemic

February 23, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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Lecture information: In the popular imagination, backwards and ignorant “medieval people” possessed no means of understanding or trying to combat the Black Death, the fourteenth-century outbreak of bubonic plague that ravaged Europe among other parts of the world. In fact, while medieval doctors lacked modern medical technologies and knowledge of disease pathology, they showed remarkable creativity in their attempts to explain, diagnose, and blunt the impact of the Black Death. Professor Whalen will discuss the value of such expertise in an age of pandemic—in the Middle Ages, but also in the contemporary moment.

Speaker information: Brett Whalen received his PhD from Stanford University in 2005 and teaches medieval religious, intellectual, and cultural history in History at UNC-CH. He is the author of several books, including The Two Powers: The Papacy, the Empire, and the Struggle for Sovereignty in the Thirteenth Century (2019).

About the Bullitt History of Medicine Club
Formed in 1953, the Bullitt History of Medicine Club is a student organization within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine. The club promotes the understanding and appreciation of the historical foundations upon which current medical knowledge and practice is constructed, by encouraging social and intellectual exchanges between faculty members, medical students, and members of the community. Please visit the Bullitt History of Medicine Club website for more information.


February 23, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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