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human agency

human agency

4. Plague (II): Responses and Measures

4y ago


Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600 (HIST 234) Community responses to the bubonic plague ranged from the flight of a privileged few to widespread panic and the persecution of foreigners and other stigmatized social groups. The suspicion of willful human agency in spreading the disease, identified with the work of poisoners, was a major source of anxiety. Mass religious revivals also accompanied the pandemic, with the emergence of new cults of saints and public forms of repentance. Official attempts to contain the second pandemic resulted in the first full-scale public health program, the plague regulations instituted by the Italian city-states, regulations that included military quarantines, compulsory burial, and imprisonment of the infected. It is unclear to what extent these measures, while representative of impressive technical and administrative advances, actually contributed to defeating the epidemic. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Responses to the Plague and Miasmatism 09:05 - Chapter 2. Individual Measures of Self-Protection and Scape-Goating 18:52 - Chapter 3. Religiosity 25:51 - Chapter 4. Organized Public Health Measures 37:25 - Chapter 5. Did the Public Health Measures Succeed? Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Spring 2010.