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CEMH Digital Talk: Junko Takeda (History, Syracuse University)

“Epidemics, Disinformation, and Financial Meltdown: Lessons from the Great Plague of 1720”
November 6, 2020 - 12:00pm

Zoom (Contact the Center for Early Modern History for access to this event)

Title: “Epidemics, Disinformation, and Financial Meltdown: Lessons from the Great Plague of 1720”

Abstract: The last major bubonic plague outbreak in western Europe, the Great Plague of 1720 ravaged the French Mediterranean city of Marseille and surrounding provinces for a period of three years. By the end of the epidemic, half of Marseille’s population of 100,000 lay dead while the global political economy lay in shambles as a result of the simultaneous collapse of John Law’s Company plan. This talk will first analyze the municipal and state responses to the Great Plague of 1720. Then it will discuss how plague serves as a useful entrypoint into an examination of the interconnectedness between Asia, Europe and colonies in the early centuries of economic globalization. How did the Plague of Marseille become a critical flashpoint for the eighteenth century, as European rulers and subjects, administrators, philosophers, and merchants navigated economic reform, political ruptures, and overseas expansion? How did the outbreak continue to inform discussions related to global trade, despotism, slavery, and imperialism?

Bio: Junko Takeda is the inaugural Daicoff Faculty Scholar at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and Associate Professor of History. She is the author of two books: "Between Crown and Commerce: Marseille and the Early Modern Mediterranean," (Johns Hopkins, 2011), and "Iran and a French Empire of Trade, 1700-1708: The Other Persian Letters," (Liverpool University Press, December 2020). She is currently working on a global microhistory on the life and death of Avedik, an Armenian bishop kidnapped by the French from Constantinople and thrown into the Bastille in the final years of Louis XIV's reign.

Part of the Panic and Plague in 1720 and 2020 Lecture Series