dr. (Daniel) DR Curtis


I am now finishing a project funded by the NWO VIDI (800,000 euro), which goes by the title "Positively Shocking! The Redistributive Impact of Mass Mortality through Epidemic Diseases and Violent Conflict in Early Modern Northwest Europe".

This project has made four substantial contributions – many of which will slowly be visible in published work over the next year or so in various papers, one special issue The History of the Family: Special Issue: Household, Family, and Community Responses to the Direct Costs of Epidemics (taylorandfrancis.com), and a new book entitled Epidemic Disease and Society in the Premodern Low Countries: Inequality, Community, and Gender Disaster Studies | Amsterdam University Press (aup.nl).

First, in contrast to a view in the literature that incrementally increasing economic inequality in the premodern period was a “naturally reinforcing process” with a logic of its own, we suggest that in many contexts – especially peasant-based rural communities – there was an intrinsic lifecycle model of “de-accumulation”, and hence, an inherent limitation on the increase in inequality.

Second, rather than the “levelling effect” of epidemics posited in some of the literature, we suggest that the most interesting part of the epidemic-redistribution link is not on how epidemics managed to shift and transfer resources within communities, but how (certain members of) communities managed to prevent substantial redistribution from taking place. Epidemics provoked resistance to change down many different lines.

Third, we make a strong claim for the importance of the “direct” economic costs of epidemics – which contrary to the redistribution literature – were often inegalitarian as they bore most heavily on the disadvantaged within communities.

Fourth, rather than epidemics as a vehicle for massive structural change – sometimes seen as “shocks” causing rupture points within societies and economies – we make a case for these outbreaks to be seen as effective “windows” through which aspects of vulnerability can be observed which do not necessarily come to the fore during “normal times”.

Over my career, I have published widely across many different disciplines of history and related fields – I have more than 40 international peer-reviewed articles and chapters and have 3 books (with a 4th on the way) including an open access synthesis of all the most up-to-date thinking on historical disasters with CUP library.oapen.org/bitstream/id/93f950ad-464d-4002-9aaa-3e1a3b3fe823/Disasters_and_History.pdf and an open access study on how epidemics have been visualized across the long term of cinematic history with Routledge library.oapen.org/bitstream/id/6c39960d-e611-4418-a697-1b6e6b1a2140/9781000540765.pdf. In recognition of my contribution to historical research, I am a fellow of the Royal Historical Society (UK).

I am happy to hear from any prospective students (BA/MA/PhD) interested in the broad domain of environmental hazards, famines and diseases in the past, and their implications for social and economic development over the long term.

Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Associate professor | Department of History
Burg. Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam


  • Daniel Curtis (17 maart 2020) - Hollywood pandemics

  • Daniel Curtis (2023) - Premodern Land Redistribution and (De)Accumulation Strategies: An Analysis of a Seventeenth-Century Rural Community (Oudenbosch, west Brabant)
  • Daniel Curtis (2023) - Agrarian Capitalism in the Preindustrial Low Countries
  • Daniel Curtis & Bram van Besouw (2023) - Economic History Society Annual Conference 2023
  • Vidhi Chaudhri, Daniel Curtis & Mariangela Lavanga (2023) - ESHCC Societal Engagement Award 2023 (Event)
  • Daniel Curtis (2023) - History, Health and Healing: Spring Meeting 2023
  • Daniel Curtis (2023) - Department of History (Organisational unit)
  • Daniel Curtis (2022) - Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) (External organisation)
  • Daniel Curtis (2022) - Contemporary Global Issues Roundtable: Inequality
  • Daniel Curtis (2022) - Department of History (Organisational unit)
  • Daniel Curtis (2022) - Redistribution and access to land in response to epidemics. A longterm perspective from a seventeenth-century rural community

  • Daniel Curtis (2022) - Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • DR (Daniel) Curtis (2020) - Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (STAA)
  • DR (Daniel) Curtis (2019) - Open Access Book Grant
  • DR (Daniel) Curtis (2018) - NWO VIDI
  • DR (Daniel) Curtis (2018) - Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index, Article of the Month
  • DR (Daniel) Curtis (2015) - NWO VENI
  • DR (Daniel) Curtis (2014) - Scouloudi Historical Research Award
  • DR (Daniel) Curtis (2013) - British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences / Leverhulme Trust, Small Research Grant
  • DR (Daniel) Curtis (2009) - Cambridge Members’ History Prize (2nd)

Bachelor Thesis

Year Level
BA-3, BA-3, Pre-master
Course Code

Master Thesis

Year Level
Course Code

Capitalism and Inequality

Year Level
BA-2, BA-2
Course Code

Epidemic Disease, Famine and Development

Year Level
BA-2, BA-2
Course Code

Disasters and History

Year Level
Course Code

News regarding dr. (Daniel) DR Curtis

Verschilt de voorstelling van epidemieën door de tijd heen?

Voormalig ESHCC-student Phạm Thùy Dung heeft haar BA-scriptie verwerkt tot een artikel dat is gepubliceerd in het peer-reviewed Journal of Media History.
Cinema chairs

Daniel R. Curtis gekozen als Fellow van de Royal Historical Society

Daniel R. Curtis (geschiedenis-afdeling) werd onlangs gekozen als Fellow van de Royal Historical Society (RHS) in the UK.
Logo of the Royal Historical Society, white letters on blue background.

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