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The Black Death: Did Humans Spread the Plague?

Was it the rats or the fleas? Was it us? Two professors discuss new views on how the Black Death spread and devastated the world.
The Black Death: Did Humans Spread the Plague? is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 3.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good discussion! Short, but a good discussion on one of the new theories of the Black Death.
Date published: 2022-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FASCINATING THEORY AND BIG POSSIBLE GAME CHANGER? THIS EPISODE IS THE OVERVIEW OF OTHER CAUSES OF BLACK DEATH. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE EVIDENCE FROM SCIENTIFIC STUDIES. FASCINATING THEORY AND BIG POSSIBLE GAME CHANGER?
Date published: 2022-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Possible Additional Vectors The discussion of new theories of how the plague spread is very interesting. Both professors are skeptical of the new theory of human lice spreading the disease but are open to the possibility. I really appreciate their honesty.
Date published: 2021-04-29
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Overview

AUDIO ONLY: What caused the bubonic plague? Recent research shows us many of our assumptions may be incorrect. Two of our favorite renowned professors explore the impact of this new discovery and discuss alternatives as to how it might have spread.

About

Dorsey Armstrong

Every turning point discussed in these lectures shifted the flow of the river of history, bringing us ever closer to the modern world.

INSTITUTION

Purdue University

Dorsey Armstrong is a Professor of English and Medieval Literature at Purdue University, where she is also the head of the Department of English. She received her PhD in Medieval Literature from Duke University. She is the executive editor of the academic journal Arthuriana, which publishes cutting-edge research on the legend of King Arthur, from its medieval origins to its modern enactments. She is a recipient of the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, Purdue’s top undergraduate teaching honor. Her other Great Courses include The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague and The Medieval World.

By This Professor

King Arthur: History and Legend
854
The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague
854
Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
854
Years That Changed History: 1215
854
Great Minds of the Medieval World
854
The Black Death: New Lessons from Recent Research
854
La Peste Negra: La Plaga Más Devastadora del Mundo
853
Bruce E. Fleury

What made this course special for me was how much I learned in the process of teaching it. You're never too old to learn.

INSTITUTION

Tulane University

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.

By This Professor

Mysteries of the Microscopic World
854
The Scientific Wonder of Birds
854
The Black Death: Did Humans Spread the Plague?

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.

11 min