Series: Global Histories of Health, Medicine, and Disease in the Early Modern World


‘Global Histories of Health, Medicine, and Disease in the Early Modern World’ is our first themed series on the Global History Podcast. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought that it hopefully could be relevant and helpful to speak with several scholars about disease, health, and medicine in the past in a global perspective, as well as the potential relevance of these histories in the present. You can listen to the individual episodes here on our website through the links below, or through this series’ playlist on Spotify.

If you have any thoughts, questions, or comments about this series, or would like to pitch us an idea for a new episode, feel free to email us at, or send us a message on our website’s contact formfacebooktwitter, or instagram.

Monica H. Green on the Black Death and the Global History of Disease

Monica H. Green discusses the global history of disease, including the global Black Death, the ways in which historians and scientists can collaborate in writing global histories of disease, at what point a disease can be called global, and the role of colonization and trade in spreading disease.

Sebestian Kroupa on Global Histories of Science and Medicine in the Early Modern Philippines

Sebestian Kroupa speaks about his research on the Bohemian Jesuit pharmacist Georg Joseph Kamel, who was stationed in the colonial Spanish Philippines at the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th, and about how Kamel’s life, work, and correspondence can illuminate the ways knowledge was produced in cross-cultural, cross-imperial, and cross-oceanic settings in the early modern world.

Nükhet Varlık on Plague, Public Health, and Healing in the Ottoman Empire

Nükhet Varlık speaks about her research on plague, public health, and healing in the early modern Ottoman Empire, including the importance of considering the Ottoman experience in the broader history of plague, the links between Ottoman imperial expansion and the spread of plague, and practices of healing in early modern Ottoman society.

Hugh Cagle on Nature, Disease, and ‘Assembling the Tropics’ in the Portuguese Empire

Hugh Cagle speaks about his research on the creation of the idea of the ‘tropics’, focusing on knowledge about nature, medicine, and disease in the Portuguese Empire during the late medieval and early modern periods. 

Clare Griffin on Histories of Medicine, Trade, and Translation in the Early Modern Russian Empire

Clare Griffin speaks about ‘official’ Russian court medicine, the challenges of reconstructing the ‘unofficial’ medical practices of the broader population, and the participation of the early modern Russian Empire in global trade networks of medical commodities, which brought products like sassafras and rhubarb to Moscow from as far away as the New World and East Asia, respectively.

Suman Seth on Climate, Medicine, and Race in the Eighteenth-Century British Empire

Suman Seth speaks about his book, Difference and Disease: Medicine, Race, and Locality in the Eighteenth-Century British Empire, discussing topics including ideas about the process of ‘seasoning’, undergone when a person migrated from one kind of climate to another, gender and susceptibility to disease, and the entanglement of transatlantic slavery and abolition with ideas about race and medicine.

Janet Gyatso on Medicine, Buddhism, and the Body in Early Modern Tibet

Janet Gyatso speaks about her book, Being Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet, discussing topics including the entanglement of Buddhism and medicine in early modern Tibet, the cross-cultural influences of diverse medical traditions on Tibetan medicine, and the importance of adopting a non-Eurocentric perspective when studying ways of knowing, debating, and gathering information about the human body and the natural world.

COVER IMAGE: Frontispiece, Pierre Morel, The Expert Doctors Dispensatory (London, 1657). EPB 37572/A, Wellcome Library. Credit: Wellcome CollectionAttribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s