Category Archives: Pale Rider

Monuments to catastrophe

THE history of humanity is punctuated with purges. Large numbers of people have died in short periods of time as a result of wars, disease and natural disasters. Once these have passed, it falls to the survivors to count the dead. This is never easy, but it is harder for some kinds of disaster than for others. It may be hardest of all for a pandemic, as Ole Benedictow acknowledged in his 2005 article, ‘The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever’…

This article first appeared in History Today on 23 March 2017. To continue reading, click here.

 

 

 

 

How crowds affect your health

GLASTONBURY 1997, the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2008: what do they have in common? All three were the backdrop to outbreaks of communicable disease, and so of interest to doctors working in mass gathering medicine. The goal of this relatively young field is to address the specific health problems associated with mass events, but two British psychologists now claim that this can only be done effectively by understanding the psychological transformation that people undergo when they join a crowd…

This article first appeared in the BPS Research Digest on 4 January 2017. To continue reading, click here:

Joining a crowd transforms us psychologically, with serious health implications

Image: AlGraChe/Flickr

 

China and the Great War

IMPERIAL War Museum, London, 4 May 2016. China’s participation in the First World War was a defining moment in modern Chinese and world history and the beginning of China’s journey toward internationalisation. The aim of this symposium was to extend the dimensions of our collective memory of the war – and the ensuing ‘flu pandemic – along with investigations of the significance of these to China’s subsequent role in international relations. Held on May Fourth, the date of the symposium commemorates the May Fourth Revolution which followed China’s betrayal at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919…

I spoke at the symposium on the possible Chinese origins of the flu that wasn’t Spanish.

Chinese Labour Corps graves
Chinese Labour Corps graves