What can the medieval face mask tell us about the role that medical face coverings play, not only in prevention of illness, but also as a signifier of identities and anxieties? Sadegh Attari explores how medical, cultural, and religious ideas shaped pre-modern mask-wearing
The sixteenth-century struggle to balance biological and economic well-being implicated a surprising number of authorities, but not everyone accepted their discipline. Matthew Vester explores in Pandemic Politics During the Renaissance.
With Italy on the frontline of Europe’s Coronavirus outbreak, Rosa Salzberg examines how Renaissance Venice established world-leading measures to combat the plague, strategies we are still relying on today.
What can we learn from comparing past and present sensory experiences of illness? The senses are an essential avenue through which we navigate understandings and responses to disease. Further research into how people sense illness, both inside and outside of the hospital, past and present, can aid our understanding of the experience of sickness and recovery for individuals and societies, particularly at times of public health crisis.
What value do the lessons of the past have in shaping strategies for managing the COVID-19 outbreak? In this article, Guillaume Lachenal and Gaëtan Thomas argue that an over-reliance on the allure of ‘pandemic precedents’ needs to be replaced with an enhanced understanding of the capacity of present crises to resist historical interpretation.
This piece is part of HWO’s feature on ‘Apocalypse Then and Now’. The feature brings together radical reflections and historic perspectives on catastrophe and calamity. How have crises (both real and imagined), and responses to them, shaped our world?
Here Pippo Carmona discusses historic instances of epidemics, and ways in which war has often served as a vector for viral disease.