HIST 122
The Black Death Spring 2024
Division II Writing Skills
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In what ways does a pandemic change society? Historians and scientists still debate the development and impact of the second plague pandemic, also known as the Black Death, which decimated the people of Asia, Africa, and Europe in the mid-fourteenth century. For many medieval people, the plague was experienced as a terrifying judgment of God upon the world. In this class, we will see how the plague exposed and exacerbated divisions within society, encouraging new political movements, economic changes, and new forms of expression in art and literature. We will read multiple first-hand accounts of the plague, with an eye to seeing how medieval people tried to understand the calamity through science and religion, and how modern scholars have interpreted the evidence of both written records and archaeology and related sciences. The Black Death is the first global pandemic that produced an extensive written record, and the sources offer us a detailed look at how multiple complex societies handled the crisis.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 10-15
Class#: 3846
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Attendance and participation, three short (3- to 5-page) papers, a final 8-10-page research paper
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: First- and second-year students. Others will need the permission of the instructor.
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
WS Notes: Students will write three short (3-5 page) papers and a longer (8-10 page) research paper. They will receive feedback on all of these. The research paper will be produced in several stages, with the instructor commenting on each step.
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia
HIST Group P Electives - Premodern

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