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)
- Roosen J. & Curtis D.R. (2018), Dangers of noncritical use of historical plague databases, Emerging Infectious Diseases 24(1): 103-110.
- Curtis D.R. & Dijkman J. (2018), The escape from famine in the Northern Netherlands: a reconsideration using the 1690s harvest failures and a broader Northwest European perspective, Seventeenth Century .
- Roosen J. & Curtis D.R. (2018), The 'light touch' of the Black Death in the Southern Netherlands: an urban trick?, The economic history review : 1-25.
- Curtis D.R. & Roosen J. (2018), The Many Faces of the Black Death: Comparing Plagues of the Second Pandemic. In: Waiting for the ends of the world: perceptions of disaster and risk in medieval Europe. London: Routledge.
- Curtis D.R., Dijkman J., Vanhaute E. & Lambrecht T. (2017), The Low Countries. In: Alfani G., Ó Gráda C. (Eds.) Famine in European History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 119-140.
- Curtis D.R. & Roosen J. (2017), The Sex-Selective Impact of the Black Death and Recurring Plagues in the Southern Netherlands, 1349-1450, American Journal of Physical Anthropology 164(2): 246-259.
- Curtis D.R. (2016), Review of: A.T. Brown | A. Burn | R. Doherty | eds. (2015) Crises in Economic and Social History: A Comparative Perspective, Continuity and Change 31(3): 421-423.
- Curtis D.R. (2016), Danger and displacement in the Dollard: The 1509 flooding of the Dollard Sea (Groningen) and its impact on long-term inequality in the distribution of property, Environment and History 22(1): 103-135.
- Curtis D.R. & Bavel B. van (2016), Better understanding disasters by better using history: Systematically using the historical record as one way to advance research into disasters, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 34(1): 143-169.
- Curtis D.R., Soens T. & Bavel B. van (2016), History and the Social Sciences: Shock Therapy with Medieval Economic History as the Patient, Social Science History 40(4): 751-774.
- Curtis D.R. (2016), Was Plague an Exclusively Urban Phenomenon? Plague Mortality in the Seventeenth-Century Low Countries, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 47(2): 139-170.
- Curtis D.R. (2015), Review of 'Beyond Lords and Peasants: Rural Elites and Economic Differentiation in Pre-Modern Europe', eds. Frederic Aparisi, Vicent Royo Review of: Frederic Aparisi, Vicent Royo (2014) Beyond Lords and Peasants: Rural Elites and Economic Differentiation in Pre-Modern Europe, Scripta: Revista internacional de literatura i cultura medieval i moderna 5(1): 327-30.
- Curtis D.R. (2015), Review Review of: Jane Whittle (2013) Landlords and tenants in Britain, 1440-1660: Tawney's Agrarian Problem revisited, People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History, Historia Agraria: Revista de Agricoltura e Historia Rural 65(1): 201-204.
- Curtis D.R. (2016), Did the commons make medieval and early-modern rural societies more equitable? A survey of evidence from across Western Europe, 1300-1800, Journal of Agrarian Change 16(4): 646-664.
- Curtis D.R. (2015), An agro-town bias? Re-examining the micro-demographic model for Southern Italy in the eighteenth century, Journal of Social History 48(3): 685-713.
- Curtis D.R. (2015), Review of: Ronsijn W. (2014) Commerce and the Countryside: The Rural Population’s Involvement in the Commodity Market in Flanders, 1750-1910, Revue Belge d'Histoire Contemporaine 45(4): 136-139.
- Curtis D.R. (2014), Coping with Crisis: The Resilience and Vulnerability of Pre-Industrial Settlements no. 2. Farnham: Ashgate.
- Curtis D.R. (2014), Review Review of: Gerard Béaur, Philipp Schofield, Jean-Michel Chevet, María Teresa Perez Picazo (2013) Property Rights, Land Markets and Economic Growth in the European Countryside (Thirteenth–Twentieth Centuries), Landscape History 35(1): 102-103.
- Curtis D.R. (2014), Review Review of: Erik Thoen, Piet van Cruyningen (2012) Food supply, demand and trade: aspects of the economic relationship between town and countryside (middle ages–19th century), Comparative History of the North-Sea Area, The economic history review 67(2): 597-598.
- Curtis D.R. (2014), The impact of land accumulation and consolidation on population trends in the pre-industrial period: two contrasting cases in the Low Countries, Historical Research 87(236): 194-228.
- Curtis D.R. (2014), Review Review of: Erik Thoen | Guus J. Borger | Adriaan M. J. de Kraker | Tim Soens | Dries Tys | Lies Vervaet | Henk J. T. Weerts (2013) Landscapes or Seascapes? The History of the Coastal Environment in the North Sea Area Reconsidered, Comparative History of the North-Sea Area, The Medieval Low Countries. An Annual Review 1(1): 284-287.
- Curtis D.R. (2013), Review of 'Working on Labor: Essays in Honor of Jan Lucassen', Marcel van der Linden, Leo Lucassen Review of: Marcel van der Linden, Leo Lucassen (2012) Working on Labor: Essays in Honor of Jan Lucassen, Studies in Global Social History, BMGN 113 128(4): 98-100.
- Curtis D.R. (2013), Is there an 'agro-town' model for Southern Italy? Exploring the diverse roots and development of the agro-town structure through a comparative case study in Apulia, Continuity and Change 28(3): 377-419.
- Curtis D.R. & Campopiano M. (2014), Medieval land reclamation and the creation of new societies - Comparing Holland and the Po Valley, c.800-c.1500, Journal of Historical Geography 44: 93-108.
- Curtis D.R. (2013), The emergence of concentrated settlements in medieval Western Europe: explanatory frameworks in the historiography, Canadian Journal of History 48(2): 223-251.
- Curtis D.R. (2013), Trends in rural social and economic history of the pre-industrial Low Countries: recent themes and ideas in journals and books of the past five years (2007-2013), BMGN 113 128(3): 60-95.
- Curtis D.R. (2013), Tine de Moor’s ‘Silent Revolution’. Reconsidering her theoretical framework for explaining the emergence of institutions for collective management of resources, International Journal of the Commons 7(1): 209-229.
- Curtis D.R. (2012), Florence and its hinterlands in the late Middle Ages: contrasting fortunes in the Tuscan countryside, 1300-1500, Journal of Medieval History 38(4): 472-99.