In the middle of the fourteenth century, about half the population of England was killed when a new pestilence swept across Eurasia. Historians continue to discuss - and to dispute - the effects of this extraordinary disaster on the continent's culture, economics and politics. This talk does not try to make parallels between events today and in the past but rather to suggest how we can think about major events like the arrival of Covid-19 using the ideas and approaches of historians. It asks how church builders after the Black Death - the period with the single greatest number of surviving examples before the Victorian era - responded to what happened in their buildings, using architecture to shape local society.
Dr Gabriel Byng holds a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the University of Vienna, where he works on Viennese church building in the Middle Ages. Before this, he was a Research Fellow at Cambridge University. His first monograph was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017 and he won a Dan David Scholarship for his work on macrohistory in 2019.