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Talks by noted environmental historian cancelled for Feb. 8

Loyola press release - February 1, 2010

The following two lectures have been cancelled due to major snow storms along the East Coast and in Washington, D.C., where Dr. McNeill resides. The talks will be rescheduled for a later date.

The links among ecology, disease and international politics in the Greater Caribbean will be explored by visiting Georgetown University professor and author John McNeill, Ph.D., during a free afternoon lecture on Monday, Feb. 8 in Miller Hall, Room 114. The talk takes place at 12:30 p.m. and is open to Loyola students, faculty, staff and alumni.

McNeill will discuss how yellow fever and malaria wrought systematic havoc among armies and would-be settlers of the Caribbean, a subject which is the basis of his latest book, “Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1640-1914.”

In his book, McNeill explains that because yellow fever confers immunity on survivors of the disease, and because malaria confers resistance, these diseases played partisan roles in the struggles for empire and revolution, attacking some populations more severely than others. In particular, yellow fever and malaria attacked newcomers to the region, which helped keep the Spanish Empire Spanish in the face of predatory rivals in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. In the late eighteenth and through the nineteenth century, these diseases helped revolutions to succeed by decimating forces sent out from Europe to prevent them.

Later Monday evening, McNeill will present “Turbulent Times: 100 Years of Environmental Change” as part of the Loyola President’s Forum Series. The lecture takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

McNeill, a professor in the history department and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, teaches world, environmental and international history, and studies and writes about how ecological change affects historical events. He is the author of several books, including "Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th-Century World," where he describes environmental change around the world for the past century with an effort to explain why the modern era has been so environmentally turbulent. He is the president-elect of the American Society for Environmental History.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.