Event Information

The Doctors and the Black Death: Reconsidering Expertise in an Age of Pandemic, with Brett Whalen (Bullitt History of Medicine Club)

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.

Brett Whalen received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2005 and teaches medieval religious, intellectual, and cultural history in history at UNC-Chapel Hill. 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).

Register for this virtual event.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021
5:00pm - 6:00pm
Lectures, Readings and Talks  


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Katie Bunyea