Professor Joe Byrne, Belmont Honors program, has released his second book, Daily Life during the Black Death. Published by Greenwood Press in July 2006, Daily Life extends his study of the medieval plague into the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras, focusing on how epidemic disease affected everyday life in Europe and the Islamic world. Belmont graduate Meaghan Minnick (’03) edited the manuscript, proofed text and prepared the index for the volume. His chapter, “The Pesthouse,” was presented in an early form at the 2005 national Sixteenth Century Studies Conference held in Atlanta last October. He was part of a panel dedicated to his mentor, Professor Helen Nader, an expert on Spanish history who retired from the University of Arizona this spring. During July and August 2006, Byrne participated in an institute on “Jews in Medieval Christendom” sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. This five-week program was held at the Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in Yarnton near Oxford, England.
Byrne has also been engaged by Greenwood Press to edit its forthcoming Encyclopedia of Plague, Pestilence and Pandemics, whose publication date will be in mid-2008. Greenwood approached Byrne on the strength of his previous works for the press, The Black Death (2004) and Daily Life during the Black Death (2006). Byrne accepted the challenge in part because he will be able to do much of the editorial work during his sabbatical during spring term 2007. The contract calls for a two-volume, alphabetized, interdisciplinary reference work of some 400,000 words. The editorial board Byrne has chosen includes Dr. John Parascandola, former historian for the U.S. Public Health Service and current president of the American Association for Medical History, Dr. Bill Summers of Yale University’s School of Medicine and Department of History, and Dr. Ann Carmichael, Co-Director of the Indiana University Center for Medical History, both of whom hold doctorates in history and medicine.