William & Mary

Did the Plague Impact Sub-Saharan Africa before 1899?

poster
Did the Plague Impact Sub-Saharan Africa before 1899?
April 22-23, 2016 • Williamsburg, Virginia
William and Mary, James Blair Hall, Room 206
Thursday, April 21, 2016

At the invitation of our Provost, all invited scholars are invited to the William & Mary Faculty and Board of Visitors Reception in the Wren Courtyard, 5:15-7:00 pm

Friday, April 22, 2016

8:45: Welcome

Philip Daileader, James Pinckney Harrison Associate Professor of Medieval History, William & Mary

(I) 9:00 – 9:25: Introduction
• Gérard Chouin, William & Mary: “Preliminary Reflections on Plague in Medieval and post-Medieval Sub-Saharan Africa”

(II) 9:30 – 12:30: Genetic and Paleogenomic approaches

  • Monica Green, Arizona State University: “Putting Africa on the Black Death Map: The Genetics Narrative of Y. pestis from the Perspective of Medieval History”
  • Kelly M. Harkins, University of California at Santa Cruz: “Detecting ancient plague in sub-Saharan Africa: a paleogenomic approach”
  • Hendrik Poinar, McMaster University: “A tale of many cities: Screening for the presence of pathogens in archaeological samples and the capture, sequencing and tales plague genomes tell” (Videoconference)

Chair: François-Xavier Fauvelle, CNRS, University of Toulouse
Discussant: Joseph Jones, William & Mary

12:30 – 1:30 – Lunch

(III) 1:30 – 3:00: What do Written Sources Say?

  • Marie-Laure Derat, CNRS, Institut des Mondes Africains (IMAf): “Christianity and Black Death in Fifteenth Century Ethiopia”
  • Gérard Chouin, William & Mary: “Written sources and the invisibility of the plague in sub-Saharan: reflections on the way forward”

Chair: Ann Cooper, William & Mary
Discussant: Jeremy Pope, William & Mary

(IV) 3:15-5:45: Plague and Changes in Regional Settlement Patterns

  • François-Xavier Fauvelle, CNRS, Université de Toulouse: “Why and how did most African Islamic sites disappear in the 15th century?”
  • Daphne Gallagher, University of Oregon : “Identifying Plague Epidemics in the Archaeological Record: Site Abandonments and Social Transformations in 14th-16th century CE Mali and Burkina Faso”
  • Gérard Chouin, William and Mary: “The abandonment of earthworks and settlement sites in the forest belt of West Africa: update on on-going research”

Chair: Neil Norman, William & Mary
Discussant: Susan K. McIntosh, Rice University


6:00-7:30: Reception, Tyler Family Garden, William & Mary
(Rain Location: James Blair 206)


Saturday, April 23, 2016

(V) 9:00 – 11:00: Plague in the Art: tantalizing evidence Vs ethical dilemmas

  • Suzanne Blier, Harvard University: “Historicizing Disease at Ancient Ife: Evidence for the Plague and other Diseases”
  • Kristina Van Dyke, independent scholar: “West African Figurative Terra Cottas and the Plague”

Chair: Jeremy Pope, William & Mary
Discussants: Neil Norman, William & Mary; Susan K. McIntosh, Rice University

(VI) 11:15 – 1:00: African religions and the plague: anthropological and linguistic approaches

  • Mei Mei Sanford, William & Mary: “The Drop of Oil that Puts Out the Fire: The Orisa Sopona, Moral Knowledge, and Responsibility in the Age of AIDS and Biowarfare”
  • Sandro Capo Chichi, University of Paris VII: “Bubonic plague before 1899 in the Bight of Benin? Clues from the West African deity Sakpata”

Chair: Kelly Harkins, University of California at Santa Cruz
Discussant: Suzanne Blier, Harvard University

(VII) 2:00 – 3:00: The way forward?

Chair: Monica Green, Arizona State University
Co-Chair: Gérard Chouin, William & Mary

The abstracts of the papers that will be presented can be found here.