Come join as part of the NORDEMICS project to understand why plague disappeared from the Nordic countries during the 17th and 18th century

Position as Researcher available at Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at Department of Biosciences.

The position is for a period of 24 months. Starting date no later than 01.09.21 (but may be negotiable).

The candidate will be working as part of the Nordforsk funded project “Pathogens, Pandemics and the Development of Nordic Societies (NORDEMICS)”, which ties five universities in Scandinavia together into an interdisciplinary consortium, with 2 PhD students and 3 Postdocs/Researchers working within this project. Nordemics is dedicated to understanding how various societal and environmental factors influenced the dynamics of epidemic and pandemic infections in human populations. The PhDs and Postdocs/Researchers will have the opportunity to collaborate with each other and leverage the expertise of the NORDEMICS group as a whole into their own projects.

At CEES, the appointed Researcher will aim to understand why plague disappeared from the Nordic countries during the 17th and 18th century. Many biological, social and economic reasons are offered for why plague disappeared from Europe, but none are conclusive. The rather unspecified “improved hygiene” hypothesis is often presented without considering contrary evidence, and the “displacement of the black rat reservoir by brown rats” hypothesis does not consider that plague thrived in locations outside Europe where brown rats dominated the local population of rats. More interesting are hypotheses that look at increases in regional temperature affecting flea- or lice-borne plague transmission, increased use of quarantines, and changes in the intensity of trade between the Nordic countries and other parts of Europe.

Furthermore, to counterbalance the bias towards urban data sources in historic plague research, the Researcher will pay special attention to how rural plague outbreaks, such as the outbreak in Øster Løgum in 1628, compare to outbreaks of similar size in an urban setting.

University of Oslo
Closing date
May 25th, 2021
Posted on
May 3rd, 2021 11:45
Last updated
May 3rd, 2021 11:45