I have at the moment two strands of interest. The first is on environmental and biological shocks and hazards in the pre-industrial period, and the precise mechanisms involved that allow some societies to achieve a level of resilience while others were far more vulnerable. This interest manifested itself in my first book 'Coping with Crisis: The Resilience and Vulnerability of Pre-Industrial Settlements'.
My second interest will dominate my attention for the next few years - that is accounting for the differential extremity of responses to epidemic diseases created by pre-industrial societies. This line of research is funded by the NWO in the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (VENI) and will run from 2016 to 2019. The whole project is entitled 'Why Do some Epidemic Diseases Lead to Hatred? An Investigation into the Impact of Economic Inequality on the Extent of Blame, Persecution, Hatred and Violence after Early Modern Plagues in the Northern Low Countries'.
For a long time, it has been accepted that plague in the Dutch Republic had an extremely destabilizing impact, pushing communities into general patterns of disorder and chaos. This project aims to examine this contention, by first of all, being more systematic and careful in the comparison of the exogenous plague shocks - plague bouts were not necessarily all the same severity and pervasiveness. But second of all, reviews this contention by moving away from anecdotal literary references from contemporaries as evidence for social disruption, but tries to establish some new quantifiable indicators. More specifically the project will look at the effect of plague on criminality, social and economic inequality, charity and attitudes to the poor, and the functioning of institutions for collective action.
- Current - Leiden University - Onderzoeker / Assistant Professor
- 2014-2016 - Utrecht University - Postdoctoral Researcher
- 2012-2013 - Utrecht University - Research Assistant
- 2009-2012 - Utrecht University - PhD in Social & Economic History
- 2008-2009 - University of Cambridge - MPhil in Medieval History
- 2003-2006 - University of York - BA History
Grants & awards
- NWO Veni - Leiden University - 2016-2019 - 246,000 euro
- British Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences / Leverhulme Trust - Small Grants Scheme - 2013-2014 - 11,500 euro (approx)
- Institute for Historical Research, Scouloudi Historical Research Grant - 2014-2015 - 1,100 euro (approx)