Professor Samuel Cohn

Honorary Fellow
Sep 2014 - July 2023

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Medieval History, University of Glasgow



Since 1995, I have been Professor of Medieval History at the University of Glasgow. Over the past twenty years I have specialized in the history of popular unrest in late medieval and early modern Europe and in the history of disease and medicine. My latest books are The Black Death Transformed: Disease and Culture in Early Renaissance Europe. Oxford University Press, 2002; Popular protest in late medieval Europe: Italy, France, and Flanders. Medieval Sources Series. Manchester University Press, 2004; Lust for Liberty: The politics of Social Revolt in Medieval Europe, 1200-1425. Harvard University Press, 2006; Cultures of Plague: Medical Thinking at the End of the Renaissance. Oxford University Press, 2010; and Popular Protest in Late Medieval English Towns. Cambridge University Press, 2012. I have published articles in Studi Storici, Les Annales, The American Historical Review; English Historical Review; Past & Present, Economic History Review, The Quarterly Journal of Medicine and other journals and anthologies. In 2008 I was the ‘Distinguished Visiting Professor of Medieval Studies’ at the University of California, Berkeley. From 2013 to 2016, I held a three-year ‘Senior Research Fellowship’ funded by the Leverhulme Trust on the project, ‘Epidemics: Waves of Disease, Waves of Hate from the Plague of Athens to AIDS’.


Epidemics: Waves of Disease, Waves of Hate, from the Plague of Athens to AIDS

My project investigates the emotional life of epidemics from antiquity to the present, challenging current assumptions that epidemics led to class hate and scapegoating the ‘other’, especially when diseases were ‘mysterious’ and their cures unknown. Instead, such a disease-hate nexus was extremely rare before 1500, when all diseases were mysterious.