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School of History

HST6767 - Global History of Pandemics from Plague to Coronavirus

Module code: HST6767

Credits: 60
Semester: YEAR

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Mendelsohn and Dr Ed Ramsden

Covid-19 stopped the world in its tracks. For most people, this is an unprecedented experience. Yet humanity has been here before. This module explores the long and global history of communities, governments, and experts confronting crisis in the form of epidemic disease. The module proceeds through four pandemic periods: (1) plague and smallpox since 1500; (2) cholera since 1800; (3) influenza since 1900; (4) novel viruses emerging from animals to humankind since 1980 - HIV/AIDS, Ebola, new influenzas, SARS, Covid-19. We will interrogate each period with three questions: How have pandemics shaped world history - and vice versa? How have diverse cultures and empires, states, communities, sciences, and international organisations learned from pandemics and from the outcomes of policies and responses? How, and why, have societies united or divided over concepts and practices of purity and danger, security and crisis, evoked by pandemics?

Assessment: Dissertation Progress Report 5%, Essay 25%, Policy Evaluation 20%, Dissertation 50%
Level: 6