Fall 2021 Distinguished Faculty Lecture: Renaissance or Resilience?: How Medieval Europe Recovered from the Black Death

In the fourteenth century, the world faced the greatest public health crisis in its history: a pandemic disease, caused by the bacterium yersinia pestis, which killed approximately 40-50% of the population of large parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. This pandemic, which later came to be known as the Black Death, resulted in profound individual and collective trauma. Yet the 50-year period that followed --"one of the most vibrant in the history of the European continent -- provides us with a remarkable case study in human resilience.

The period after the plague saw a growing willingness to interrogate established truths and traditions. Ideas of freedom and liberty propelled a struggle for social justice that would inspire later revolutionaries, including Thomas Paine. Meanwhile, cultural life flourished -- this was the age of Boccaccio’s Decameron, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  Medieval resilience also implied practical responses to the plague. Some responses were intolerant and violent: a reminder to be watchful of our own collective responses to fear. Yet the culture that survived the plague remains a source of hope, as we too face challenges on a global level.


Renaissance or Resilience?: How Medieval Europe Recovered from the Black Death
presented by

Simon R. Doubleday, PhD
Professor of History
Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs
Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Date: Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Time: 1-2:15 p.m.

Location: Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library

Advance registration required.

Please register using the RSVP for this Event link.


For more information contact: Office of the Provost, provostevents@hofstra.edu


Wednesday, November 03, 2021



Cultural Center Theater - Leo A. Guthart
Guthart Cultural Center Theater
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549


Office of the Provost

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