Teaching the History of Pandemics

Solicited by the OAH Committee on Teaching

Thursday, April 15, 2021, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Environment; Public History and Memory; Science, Medicine, and Public Health; Teaching and Pedagogy


Teaching about epidemics and pandemics has always been important. But in the last year it has taken on a new urgency. No historian could have predicted the current coronavirus pandemic. But most historians of epidemics and pandemics are likely unsurprised by some of its key features: the power that the natural world still holds over human life; the disproportionate impact of pandemics and epidemics on the poor and the marginalized; and the overreliance on biomedicine to the exclusion of a robust public health infrastructure. Please join these five historians as they discuss their approaches to teaching the history of pandemics.

Session Participants

Chair: Christian W. McMillen, University of Virginia

Panelist: Ann-Emmanuel Birn, University of Toronto

Panelist: Mariola Espinosa, University of Iowa

Panelist: David Shumway Jones, Harvard University

Panelist: Nancy Jane Tomes, Stony Brook University, State University of New York