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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 824: Entangled Communities and Social Networks in the Face of Conflict and Disaster

Tuesday 4 July 2023, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Charles West, Department of History, University of Sheffield
Paper 824-aEmotional Responses to Crises, Disaster, and Suffering in al-Andalus
(Language: English)
Ana María Carballeira-Debasa, Escuela de Estudios Árabes, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Granada
Index terms: Daily Life, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Social History
Paper 824-bThe Entanglement of Natural Disasters in John of Rupescissa's Apocalyptic Scheme
(Language: English)
Ben Hatchett, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Mentalities, Theology
Paper 824-cDesperately Seeking Sustainability?: Archaeological Evidence for Rural Restructuring after the Black Death in England
(Language: English)
Carenza Lewis, School of History & Heritage, University of Lincoln
Index terms: Archaeology - Sites, Economics - Rural, Geography and Settlement Studies

Paper -a:
My aim in this presentation is to deal with the forms of charitable practices in al-Andalus, as well as the different functions that were performed by charity. It is widely known that the most disadvantaged members of society did not always have to cope with their problems alone in the face of indifference. Charity was a means of attempting to improve the situation of the most destitute. Beneficence could take on a markedly institutional flavour, when the political authorities took responsibility for it. Nevertheless, the rest of the population did not remain impassive to the sufferings of their peers. This analysis allows us to visualise the dynamic implicit in the organisation of social relations.

Paper -b:
The 14th century was a century of disaster: major earthquakes, reoccurring famine, and the infamous Black Death pandemic. It is therefore not surprising that these disasters are given prominent roles in the apocalyptic scheme of the Franciscan visionary John of Rupescissa (d.1356). Rupescissa's programme of the End contains an entanglement of these three forms of catastrophe, each with its own unique role as well as an interconnected role in the purifying and reforming of society. Rupescissa also renders a network of past and future disasters, connecting them through typological interpretation. This paper investigates the entanglement of past and future plagues, famines, and earthquakes in the eschatological writings of John of Rupescissa.

Paper -c:
This paper uses archaeological evidence England to explore how rural medieval communities responded to the dramatic losses of population caused by the succession of natural and anthropogenic disasters - climate change, recessions, famines and epidemics - which ravaged 14th-century Europe. Analysis will show the impact on the countryside, where more than 90% pf the population had lived, was much greater and more enduring than has previously supposed, with nearly all settlements contracting in size, and remaining in a reduced state so for more than two centuries, some not recovering their former size until the 20th century. Analysis of the archaeological evidence also shows the individual responses of medieval communities as they sought to rebuild, with some settlements fragmenting while others collapsed in on themselves and the security of the longest-established tenements and those closest to neighbours, and to the parish church, appearing to have been particularly attractive as jeopardy stalked opportunity in the wake of demographic disaster.