Dr. Merle Eisenberg
Medieval Europe, Ancient History, Diseases & Pandemics, Environmental History
Merle Eisenberg is a historian of late antiquity and the early middle ages. His work examines the impact of great moments of historical change, such as the end of the Roman Empire and the Justinianic Plague (c. 541-750 C.E.), on individuals and communities.
He is working on two book manuscripts. The first, Pandemics and History: the Plague Concept, Disease, and the End of Antiquity, tracks the development of the Justinianic Plague. It analyzes the plague’s differential impact based on local conditions and investigates how a plague pandemic as a catastrophic myth was created along with its continuing use to the present day, including during Covid. The second, Building Little Romes: Christianity, Identity, and the Formation of the Medieval West, argues that it was subjective memory of Romans, who clung to their identities in new little Romes after the political fragmentation of the Roman Empire, that changed how individuals, communities, and states conceptualized their place in the world and ushered in the Middle Ages.
He has published articles on a variety of topics and disciplinary journals including The American Historical Review, Past & Present, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Medieval Europe, and The Journal of Late Antiquity.
He hosts the podcast Infectious Historians on the history of disease, pandemics, and medicine.