Plague and Astrology with Michelle Pfeffer

Episode 123 - April 3, 2024

Michelle Pfeffer (University of Oxford) comes on the podcast to present her work on astrology in the context of the second plague pandemic. The conversation begins with a brief discussion of the second plague pandemic and some of the cultural reactions to it. Michelle then speaks about public health and the question of its origins, before moving into astrology as a complex body of theory. She points out that astrology and medicine were quite close in both theory and practice. Michelle also discusses how in the early modern period astrology moved from being an elite product to a more democratic process, and draws some similarities between astrology and data gathering and epidemiology. The final part of the conversation covers Michelle’s exhibition as a form of outreach. Michelle recounts how she put it together and about some of the responses that she had received. 

Our Guests

Michelle Pfeffer

Senior Demy and Junior Research Fellow, Department of History, Magdalen College, University of Oxford