The Black Death: Did Humans Spread the Plague?
Dr. Dorsey Armstrong is Associate Professor of English and Medieval Literature at Purdue University, where she has taught since 2002. The holder of an A.B. in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Medieval Literature from Duke University, she also taught at Centenary College of Louisiana and at California State University, Long Beach. Her research interests include medieval women writers, late-medieval print culture, and the Arthurian legend, on which she has published extensively, including the 2009 book Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur: A New Modern English Translation Based on the Winchester Manuscript and Gender and the Chivalric Community in Sir Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur, published in 2003. In January 2009, she became editor-in-chief of the academic journal Arthuriana, which publishes the most cutting-edge research on the legend of King Arthur, from its medieval origins to its enactments in the present moment. Her current research project-Mapping Malory's Morte-is an exploration of the role played by geography in Malory's version of the story of King Arthur.
Dr. Bruce E. Fleury (1950–2020) was a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University. He earned a BA from the University of Rochester in Psychology and General Science and an MA in Library, Media, and Information Studies from the University of South Florida. His career as a college reference librarian led him to Tulane University, where he became head of the university library's Science and Engineering Division. He went on to earn an MS and a PhD in Biology, both from Tulane. Professor Fleury was the author of numerous articles and newspaper columns, both popular and professional, and a reference book on dinosaurs. He taught between 600 and 700 students a year, and his courses included ornithology, introductory general biology and environmental biology, the history of life, and evolution in human health and disease. His teaching awards included two awards for outstanding teaching from the Tulane chapter of the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society and a Mortar Board "Last Lecture" Award, in which favorite professors are invited to give a lecture as if it were their last. Professor Fleury served as an advisor for Warner Brothers' space epic Green Lantern, working on several classroom and laboratory scenes and serving as a "consulting xenobiologist" on alien life.
01: The Black Death: Did Humans Spread the Plague?
AUDIO ONLY It’s been long considered that rats and fleas were the culprit of how the plague spread so devastatingly fast, but scholars have considered for some time that they couldn’t have been the main reason. New discoveries are suggesting another method of human-to-human transmission—one we still deal with in modern days. Two of our favorite renowned professors—one an expert in the time, the other an authority in biology—explore the old theories, new discoveries and their own takes on this issue. Hear Dorsey Armstrong share her thoughts on how the black plague could be related to a hemorrhagic outbreak or a naturally occurring poison in our earth. Then, hear Bruce Fleury share his take on the new theories, based in the science of how germs spread. Although each new theory brings up all new questions, hearing these authorities weigh-in with alternating viewpoints, different perspectives, and based in different areas of expertise is enlightening just in itself.