Panic and Pandemic

This project examines discourses on epidemic disease against the history of outbreaks in early modern Europe, with case studies on Germany, England, and France.

Using online databases, we analyze metadata of early modern publications for themes related to epidemic disease and compare these occurrences with historical reports of plague outbreaks. We also bring this data together with additional indices such as persecution (witch-hunting, antisemitism, and religious strife) and climatological variation. For example, in our German case studies, data streams on outbreaks are combined with structural data on the relative centrality of German cities, allowing us to model the impact of centrality on epidemic disease as well as the discourses which preserve its historical traces. Such models will allow the visualization, examination, and testing of different hypotheses about the role of environmental and social stress in the dynamics of panic and persecution.

Core People