The Ecology of Yellow Fever in Antebellum New Orleans

The spread of yellow fever was a result of complex ecological and demographic changes produced by the development of both plantations and metropolitan centers. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, yellow fever epidemics occurred with increased frequency in New Orleans in the late summer. The yellow fever virus is of West African origin,[…]

What Is Yellow Fever? Disease and Causation in Environmental History

Recent phylogenetic analyses suggest that the yellow fever virus is approximately 1,500 years old. In many environmental histories, diseases serve to make one of the field’s foundational claims: that nonhuman forces matter in the shaping of human events. But as environmental history has matured, its practitioners have recognized that diseases are entangled with the human-made[…]

An Anthropology of Death around the World in Ten Objects

Many cultures around the world celebrate death as part of life, though we often contain death within designated spaces of our hospitals and cemeteries. From Victorian mourning etiquette to Mexican skeleton decorations, explore how different traditions think about the end. By Elissavet Ntoulia / 10.30.2018 Visitor Experience Assistant Wellcome Trust Mummification Mummified cat, ancient Egypt,[…]

Plagues of the Past

Many diseases have affected the outcomes of battles or the political leanings of a country, but few have had consequences on society that continue to be felt in the present age. The plague is one such disease and its most famous pandemic – the Black Death – has changed the history, culture, and science of[…]

How the Ancient World Invoked the Dead to Help the Living

The dead wait to be ferried across the River Styx. The Souls of Acheron (1898) by Adolf Hiremy Hirschl For the ancients, ghosts could be quite useful. By Dr. Evelien Bracke / 10.28.2016 Senior Lecturer in Classics Swansea University Dressing up, knocking on neighbours’ doors and asking for food is a very old tradition. Communities on the British Isles were[…]

Golden Tickets to the Underworld in Ancient Greece

Tablet with Instructions for the Deceased in the Underworld, 350–300 B.C., Greek. Gold, 7/8 × 1 7/16 × 1/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Gift of Lenore Barozzi, 75.AM.19 How some ancient Greeks navigated their passage to a happier afterlife. By David Saunders / 10.30.2018 Curator, Department of Antiquities J. Paul Getty Museum Introduction[…]