Dr. Erik Heinrichs

Erik Heinrichs

Associate Professor of History
PhD Harvard University

Professor Heinrichs is a historian of medieval and early modern Europe. He studied at Harvard University (Ph.D. and A.M.) and Marquette University (B.A.), as well as for three semesters at the Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck, Austria. He has held two Fulbright scholarships for research, one for Austria (2000-1) and one for Germany (2005-6), where he was affiliated with the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. He was also a post-doctoral fellow at the Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel) and the Leibniz Institute for European History (Mainz, Germany).

Professor Heinrichs teaches a wide variety of courses that investigate the pre-modern world as well as the broad histories of medicine and science. These include Western Civilization surveys stretching between the Big Bang and the French Revolution, as well as upper-level courses devoted to the Middle Ages, Reformation, and the Age of Exploration, Empires, and Piracy in the Early Modern World. He also teaches a new general education course devoted to the broad histories of medicine, drugs and life sciences (Hist 140).

His research focuses on medical and cultural responses to plagues in late medieval and early modern Europe, particularly in German-speaking lands. He has completed a book that details the innovative plague advice that German physicians crafted during the Renaissance, Reformation, and the first flourishing of vernacular print. This book explores the impact of Renaissance humanism, the Reformation, print, and alchemy on the prevention and cure of plague. So far he has not attempted to recreate one of the early modern plague cures uncovered during his research, but looks forward to doing so someday as a class activity.

Professor Heinrichs is a Midwesterner, born and raised in a region called Michiana (appellation d’origine contrôlée), before ranging further afield to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Austria, Germany, as well as Boston, where he lived for a decade or so. Today his native range is the Upper Mississippi River Valley, especially Winona and its surrounding bluff lands.


"Plague, Print, and the Reformation: The German Reform of Healing, 1473-1573." New York and London: Routledge, 2018

“The Live Chicken Treatment for Buboes: Trying a Plague Cure in Medieval and Early Modern
Europe” "Bulletin of the History of Medicine" 91 (2017): 210-232

“The Plague Cures of Caspar Kegler: Print, Alchemy and Medical Marketing in Sixteenth-Century
Germany” "Sixteenth Century Journal" 43, no. 2 (2012): 417-440

View Dr. Heinrichs current CV (PDF).