Joris Roosen (1987) is currently working as a PhD student at Utrecht University and is affiliated to the Research Institute for History and Art History. He is part of a research project led by Professor Bas van Bavel entitled ‘Coordinating for Life. Success and Failure of Western European Societies in Coping with Rural Hazards and Disasters, 1300-1800’.

The question this projects asks is the following: "Societies in past and present are regularly confronted with major hazards, which sometimeshave disastrous effects. Some societies are successful in preventing these effects and buffering threats, or they recover quickly, while others prove highly vulnerable. Why is this?"

His main research interest is the demographic impact, and subsequent recovery after the Black Death and recurring waves of plague in the Southern Netherlands.

Strategic themes / Focus areas
Involved in the following study programme(s)
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All publications
  2018 - Scholarly publications
Roosen, J. & Curtis, Daniel (01.01.2018). Dangers of Noncritical Use of Historical Plague Data. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 24 (1), (pp. 103-110).
Roosen, J. (2018). De “geringe impact” van de Zwarte Dood in de Nederlanden - Een epidemiologisch vraagstuk.. Ex tempore, 37 (2), (pp. 66-77).
Roosen, J. (19.04.2018). Severity and Selectivity of the Black Death and Recurring Plague in the Southern Netherlands (1349-1450). Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis, (pp. 25-55).
Roosen, J. & Curtis, Daniel (05.02.2018). The ‘light touch’ of the Black Death in the Southern Netherlands: an urban trick?. The Economic History Review
  2017 - Scholarly publications
Curtis, Daniel & Roosen, J. (2017). The sex-selective impact of the Black Death and recurring plagues in the Southern Netherlands, 1349–1450. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 164 (2), (pp. 246-259) (14 p.).
  2016 - Scholarly publications
Roosen, J. (2016). Tussen winstmaximalisatie en continuïteit - De relatie van de abdij van Hocht met haar voornaamste hoevepachters in de achttiende eeuw. Publications de la Société Royale Historique et Archéologique dans le Limbourg, 151, (pp. 173-207).
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Coordinating for Life. Success and failure of Western European societies in coping with rural hazards and disasters, 1300-1800
01.03.2014 to 01.03.2019
General project description 

Societies in past and present are regularly confronted with major hazards, which sometimes have disastrous effects. Some societies are successful in preventing these effects and buffering threats, or they recover quickly, while others prove highly vulnerable. Why is this? Increasingly it is clear that disasters are not merely natural events, and also that wealth and technology alone are not adequate to prevent them. Rather, hazards and disasters are social occurrences as well, and they form a tough test for the organizational capacities of a society, both in mitigation and recovery. This project targets a main element of this capacity, namely: the way societies have organized the exchange, allocation and use of resources. It aims to explain why some societies do well in preventing or remedying disasters through these institutional arrangements and others not. In order to do so, this project analyses four key variables: the mix of coordination systems available within that society, its degree of autarky, economic equity and political equality. The recent literature on historical and present­day disasters suggests these factors as possible causes of success or failure of institutional arrangements in their confrontation with hazards, but their discussion remains largely descriptive and they have never been systematically analyzed. This research project offers such a systematic investigation, using rural societies in Western Europe in the period 1300­1800 ­ with their variety of socio­economic characteristics ­ as a testing ground. The historical perspective enables us to compare widely differing cases, also over the long run, and to test for the variables chosen, in order to isolate the determining factors in the resilience of different societies. By using the opportunities offered by history in this way, we will increase our insight into the relative performance of societies and gain a better understanding of a critical determinant of human wellbeing.

Role PhD Candidate Funding
EU grant: ERC Advanced Grant
Project members UU

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Currently Joris Roosen teaches the following course(s):
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Full name
J. Roosen Contact details
Wittevrouwenstraat 7bis

Wittevrouwenstraat 7bis
Room 0
The Netherlands

Postal address
Wittevrouwenstraat 7bis
3512 CS    UTRECHT
The Netherlands
Mo Tue Wed Thu Fr
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Last updated 25.09.2018