Gender & History

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 11 Issue 1 (April 1998), Pages iv-v, 1-208

Searchers of the Dead: Authority, Marginality, and the Interpretation of Plague in England, 1574–1665 (pages 1-29)

Searchers of the dead, women pensioners hired to examine and codify diseased bodies, were significant figures in the management of early modern plague epidemics, but have remained seriously neglected by scholars. This essay reclaims the searchers by investigating archival material such as parish records, legal documents, and bills of mortality. Active members of their parishes, the searchers occupied a paradoxical relationship to authority: subjected to the dangers of plague because of their economic dependence, the searchers also commanded tremendous power to define matters of life and death by literally naming plague on the bodies of their neighbours.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>