Plague epidemics in the post-Black Death Mediterranean and the Ottoman Empire

Exploring the interplay between epidemic disease and empire in the historical example of the early modern Ottoman Empire, Professor Varlik's research aims to demonstrate that the histories of the two phenomena are intertwined. By tracing the territorial growth of the empire through conquests and the subsequent establishment of networks of trade and communication between the newly conquered territories, and the growth of new urban centers, we will see that plague epidemics attained new trajectories through which they could spread to a more extensive area and expanded in new directions in the post-Black Death era. More specifically, she shall analyze the outbreaks of plague in this era in three distinct phases on the basis of their spread patterns, area of diffusion, and frequency of recurrence. The first phase (1453-1517) is characterized by the emergence of an east-west axis in the Mediterranean. The second phase (1517-1570) witnessed the rise of multiple networks of plague-spread. And the last phase (1570-1600) marks the emergence of Istanbul as the plague-hub of the empire.

Presented by Nukhet Varlik, Rutgers
at the Center for Historical Research, Dept. of History
The Ohio State University on April 6, 2012
Comment: Carter Findley, Dept. of History, Ohio State

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