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Ruth MacKay F'15, F'00

Ruth MacKay

Independent Scholar
last updated: 07/06/18

ACLS Fellowship Program 2015
Independent Scholar
The Commune and Pestilence: Plague in Castile in the Late Sixteenth Century

When plague moved through Spain at the end of the sixteenth century, people responded not only with panic or religious excess, as is often recorded, but also according to the dictates of good government, the common good, and solidarity. This study, based on municipal records, royal missives, and lawsuits, views catastrophe within the framework of political practice and theory, whose vocabulary was widely familiar to everyone. It depicts both sacrifice and subterfuge, as competing needs were balanced. It explores the moral and political choices communities made, the chronology and memories they created, and the language and tropes they used. It addresses fear, courage, news, faith, lies, and economic gain. It treats plague broadly, both geographically and conceptually, and aims to further our understanding of early modern Castile through common people’s response to disaster.

ACLS Fellowship Program 2000
Independent Scholar
Common people and the commonwealth: labor and citizenship in early modern Castile

Publications

"Lazy, Improvident People": Myth and Reality in the Writing of Spanish History.
"Lazy, Improvident People": Myth and Reality in the Writing of Spanish History. Cornell University Press, 2006.

The Limits of Royal Authority: Resistance and Obedience in Seventeenth-Century Castile.
The Limits of Royal Authority: Resistance and Obedience in Seventeenth-Century Castile. Cambridge University Press, 1999.