Plagues and Liberty


Drawing on historical case studies, this virtual conference explored the impacts of plagues and pandemics on different societies, particularly the long and short term effects on social norms, economic relations, and political liberties.


Conference Readings

Little, Lester K., eds. Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Barry, John M. The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. New York: Penguin, 2004.

Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. Translated by G. H. McWilliam. Hammondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1972.

Byrne, Joseph P. The Black Death. Westport, Connecticut: Greenhaven Press, 2004.

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1999.

Foucault, Michel. Security, Territory, Population. Edited by Michel Senellart. Translated by Graham Burchell. New York: Palgrave, 2007.

Henderson, John., “The Black Death in Florence: Medical and Communal Responses.” In The Black Death, edited by Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt, 47-58. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

McNeil, William H. Plagues and Peoples. New York: Anchor, 1998.

Rahe, Paul. “What The Great Historian Thucydides Saw In Athens’ Plague—And Our Own.” The Federalist.com. https://thefederalist.com/2020/04/08/what-the-great-historian-thucydides-saw-in-athens-plague-and-our-own/ (July 28, 2020).

Schmitt, Carl. Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. Translated by George Schwab. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Spicer, André. “The Decameron – The 14th-century Italian Book that Shows us How to Survive Coronavirus.” newstatesman.com. https://www.newstatesman.com/2020/03/coronavirus-survive-italy-wellbeing-stories-decameron (July 28, 2020).

Spinney, Laura. Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World. New York: Public Affairs, 2018.

Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. Edited by M. I. Finley. Translated by Rex Warner. London: Penguin Books, 1972.