Teaching Associate Professor, Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences
Eliza Buhrer is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences at Colorado School of Mines, and likes to tell her students that she probably has the strangest academic background of any Mines Professor: She has a B.A. in Religious Studies from Reed College and an interdisciplinary M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Cornell, with concentrations in history and philosophy. Before to coming to Mines, she was a history professor at Seton Hall University and Loyola University New Orleans, and her research and publications focused on the relationship between medicine, law, and disability in premodern Europe, and the early histories of mental disorder and intellectual disability. She has also published on poverty and charity in premodern Europe and is the editor of the Bloomsbury Cultural History of Poverty in the Middle Ages, which will be published as part of a six-volume series on the history of poverty from antiquity to the present.
Dr. Buhrer’s early research coupled with a long-standing interest in the Black Death led to a fascination with the broader history of medicine, and after teaching her first class on pandemics during the Ebola outbreak of 2015, she was hooked. Now she is delighted to teach classes focused on the history of medicine and the history of pandemics at Mines, and her research currently explores the long-term health burdens created by historical pandemics. She also draws upon years spent teaching first-year writing at Cornell and Tulane (where she did a teaching postdoc in the first-year writing program) to teach Nature and Human Values, and occasionally co-teaches a delightfully weird class on the history of thermodynamics in the McBride Honors Program. In the Fall of 2022, she will offer a new class, “A History of the Good Life, from Aristotle to the Anthropocene,” in which students will study philosophy, history, and literature to explore how people have historically answered the question of what it means to live a good life, while figuring out their own answer to this question.
Beyond teaching, she is an avid painter and pianist, and is the faculty friend to the Visual & Performing Arts Themed Learning Community. She is also the Co-Chair of the HASS DI&A Committee.
HASS 100 Nature and Human Values
HASS 372 History of Medicine
HASS 463 History of Epidemics
HASS 495 Medicine and Society, 1700-2000
HASS 495 History of the Good Life, From Aristotle to the Anthropocene
HNRS 445 Human-Thermodynamics: Heat, Energy and Time
- A Cultural History of Poverty in the Medieval Age. London: Bloomsbury Press (edited volume), forthcoming 2024.
- “Introduction” in A Cultural History of Poverty in the Medieval Age. London: Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming 2024.
- “Afterword,” in The Art of Illness: Inventing, Accusing, and Doubting Health Conditions” (Routledge Advances in the History of Bioethics), edited by Wendy Turner. New York: Routledge, forthcoming 2023.
- “Response,” in colloquium on “Historicizing Consent” ed. Carrisa Harris and Fiona Somerset, forthcoming in Studies in the Age of Chaucer (2022).
- “Mental Competency Inquisitions from Medieval England,” in The Medieval Disability Sourcebook, ed. Cameron Hunt McNabb. Punctum Books, 2020.
- “Monstrosity in Medieval Law,” in Embodied Difference: Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World, edited by Rick Godden and Asa Mittman. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
- “Disability and Consent in Medieval Law,” Postmedieval 10, 344–356 (2019).
- “Learning Difficulties,” in A Cultural History of Disability in the Middle Ages, edited by Jonathan Hsy Tory Pearman, and Joshua Eyler. London: Bloomsbury Press, 2019.
- “Idiocy and the Law in Fourteenth Century England.” In Law’s Dominion: Essays in Honor of Paul Hyams, Reading Medieval Studies,
- “But what is to be said of a fool?”: Intellectual Disability in Medieval Thought.” In Mental and Physical Health in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period (Fundamentals of Medieval and Early Modern Culture), edited by Albrecht Classen. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2014.
- “From Caritas to Charity: How Loving God Became Giving Alms.” In Poverty and Prosperity, the Rich and the Poor in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance 19), edited by Anne Scott and Cynthia Kosso. Turnhout: Brepols, 2012.