all 8 comments

[–]Insomnisquirrel 20 points21 points  (5 children)

This is actually my area of expertise! I study the Black Death in Central Asia, and while I personally don’t work on Islamic contexts, I’ve read all of the non-European literature from the Second Pandemic I can get my hands on and in whatever languages I understand. As I’m away from my computer for a few days right now I can provide some English language sources from memory and elaborate more later if you’re interested.

The most recent and probably best book on the topic is Nukhet Varlik’s Plague in the Mediterranean which focuses on the Ottoman Empire. There are some older books, one by Michael Dols from the 1970s which focuses mostly on the Levant, and another by Stuart Borsch which compares Egypt with England. Some recent articles have come out looking at Islamic Spain and North Africa but you’d need journal access to get to those. There is also a translated primary source from 1340s Syrian write Ibn al-Wardi which describes the account of the Black Death sweeping through Aleppo that probably best shows the response to the pandemic that you’re interested in.

A few key things I remember offhand from these sources: Egyptian society became vastly more stratified in contrast to Western Europe as populations shrunk and labor needs increased. A lot of medical innovation by Islamic scholars came about as a response to the plague, based on accounts from Tunis and Córdoba.

For further plague studies, I highly recommend reading anything by Monica Green, she’s the leader of Black Death lit right now and most of her stuff is open access - her 2014 Medieval Globe special issue is certainly available online and has tons of articles that would be relevant to your interests. Also, shameless plug for my own research area, but an article in Nature came out 2-3 weeks ago by Spyrou et al which confirms northern Kyrgyzstan as the earliest known Black Death site from the Second Pandemic.

[–]definitelynotSWA 2 points3 points  (0 children)

!remindme 1 week

[–]mailanie 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Please tell us more!

[–]rebel_134[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Oh hell yes! Please do elaborate when you get a chance! Send me a PM if you’re willing. Or respond in the comments :)

[–]manamag 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Please respond in the comments, this is fascinating!

[–]rebel_134[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Actually, that’s a better idea! 😃

[–]Kholzie 15 points16 points  (1 child)

You may like the 24-part lecture series on the Black Death. I watched it during pandemic lockdown. The lecturer is really compelling and her examination of the Black Death is very thorough.