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Epilogue: A Hypothesis on the East Asian Beginnings of the Yersinia Pestis Polytomy

Robert Hymes

Robert Hymes is H. W. Carpentier Professor of Chinese History at Columbia University. He received his BA from Columbia College (1972), and his MA (1976) and PhD (1979) from the University of Pennsylvania. Much of his work so far has focused on the social and cultural history of middle period and early modern China, drawing questions and sometimes data from cultural anthropology as well as history, and using the methods of the local historian to study elite culture, family and kinship, medicine, religion, and gender. His publications include Statesmen and Gentlemen: The Elite of Fu-chou, Chiang-hsi, in Northern and Southern Sung (Cambridge, 1987); Ordering the World: Approaches to State and Society in Sung Dynasty China (Berkeley, 1993, coedited with Conrad Schirokauer); and Way and Byway: Taoism, Local Religion, and Models of Divinity in Sung and Modern China (Berkeley, 2002). Both Statesmen and Gentlemen and Way and Byway won the Joseph Levenson Prize of the Association for Asian Studies for the best book on pre-1900 China in their years of publication. He is now working on two (he hopes) book-sized projects simultaneously: one on the notion of “belief” (xin) in the mentalités of middle-period China, and one on the origins of the Black Death in Central and East Asia, of which the present article is a preliminary product. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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The Medieval Globe : Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death

Arc Medieval Press, 2014



...The work of Cui et al. (2013)—in both dating the polytomy that produced most existing strains of Yersinia pestis and locating its original home to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau—offers a genetically derived specific historical proposition...