the black death

Everyone, it seems, has their own story of modernity. And there is no better way to rile an academic, it seems, that to tell one.

Nominalism, Disenchantment, Emancipation, the Institutionalisation of Agapé, Silent Reading, Elite-driven Reform, Capitalism, Protestantism, the Printing Press, Fossil Fuels, Democracy, Liberalism. Choose your cause, choose your effect.

Jacob’s claim is a cornerstone of this blog:

“I think all of these narratives are wrong. They are wrong because they are the product of scholars in universities who overrate the historical importance and influence of other scholars in universities, and because they neglect ideas that connect more directly with the material world.

Well it is plague season, and a factor I haven’t heard spoken of (at all, its not in Taylor so far as I remember) is the Black Death.

How’s a cataclysmic plague for something with historical importance and influence; a cause that connected directly to the material world (the most intimate material world of all: our bodies)? huh?

It doesn’t seem connected with other society wide influencers. I guess other than—just like in our days—accelerating processes already in motion?

But I suspect this also connects deeply with my bigger question of the relation between Incarnation/Bodily Immanence and the need for ‘Technological Histories of Modernity’—histories which “connect more directly with the material world” which account for the way atom-events (as opposed to bit-events, or Geist-events) “press in upon” human life and steer human history.

But why the lack of Black Death coverage in the grand recits?1


  1. I hit up against my own ignorance, I’m not well read in histories, but even if they show up there does it make its way over to the theory stories?

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