Webinar Monday April 27 at 4 p.m. "Making a Pandemic . . ."

Please join us on Monday, April 27 at 4pm, for a Zoom webinar with Dr. Merle Eisenberg (SESYNC, University of Maryland). The title of his talk is “Making a Pandemic: the Justinianic Plague, the End of Antiquity, and the Conquest of Disease”.


This talk uses the first plague pandemic in history, the Justinianic Plague (c. 541-750 CE), as a way to explore three themes in the history of pandemics. First, it places the Justinianic Plague into the broader history of pandemics and disease over the 20th century to historicize why it became an object of study. Second, the talk investigates how the Justinianic plague transformed from a series of events into a transformative concept in history. Finally, it investigates the empirical evidence for the Justinianic Plague’s impact, which is said to have been a key factor in ending the ancient world, and argues its effects are greatly exaggerated, while offering a new model to understand its impact. The talk provides a way to contextualize our contemporary approaches to pandemics as part of longer historical processes shaping both the past and the present.

Merle Eisenberg is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) at the University of Maryland and received his Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. He works on the end of the Roman Empire, environmental history, and the history of pandemics. Merle has published articles in Past & Present, Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies, and has a forthcoming article in the Journal of Late Antiquity, among others. He has also co-authored an article in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which received significant press coverage including in CNN, Fox News, and USA Today. His media outreach efforts include an op-ed in the Washington Post and an interview on CNN. During the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, he has co-created two online resources: Middle Ages for Educators for teaching and research and the Infectious Historians website and podcast.

Zoom meeting on Monday, April 27 @ 4pm:

Join URL:


Questions?  Please email aborrut@umd.edu