Intervals is a public history initiative of the OAH Committee on Marketing and Communications. Created during the COVID-19 pandemic, Intervals explores the history of public health, illness, and disease in North America from colonial times to the present. Coming at a time of profound upheaval in our social and professional lives, Intervals responds to the impact of the pandemic on the history profession and helps fill the informational needs of the public. Season 1 draws on the work of twenty member historians to reframe American history through the lens of public health and to meet the demand for humanistic content that can engage and inform contemporary understanding of the coronavirus emergency. Intervals showcases and amplifies the value of each participant's work, broadens the constituency for OAH resources, and promotes historical literacy as a critical tool of citizenship. New episodes will air weekly on Wednesdays beginning April 7, 2021.

Intervals is hosted by Christopher Brick, George Washington University, and Kariann Yokota, University of Colorado, Denver, co-chairs of the Marketing and Communications Committee. It is produced by Ikerighi (IK) David, the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at George Washington University.

Transcripts and notes, including suggested readings, are available for each episode.

Series Introduction - Public History is Public Health



Christopher Brick is a historian of human rights and the modern United States at the George Washington University where he serves as Director and Editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project. A founding member of the OAH Marketing and Communications Committee, Brick served as co-chair from 2019-20 and in that capacity conceived and founded the Intervals series.

Episode 1 - A Haunted Land: Epidemics, Indians, and the Contagion of Colonialism in North America--Pre-Contact to 1621

Josh Irvin is a doctoral student at George Washington University pursuing his PhD in Native American history. His ongoing research regards native sovereignty in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century by examining the history of the Grand River Iroquois community.

Episode 2 - "The Speckled Monster": Smallpox in Early America

Shannon E. Duffy is a Senior Lecturer in Early American History at Texas State University and writes on issues of personal and community identity formation in the Revolutionary and Early National periods.

Episode 3 - “A Plague in New York City: A Young Doctor Confronts Yellow Fever in the Founding Era”

Carolyn Eastman is an Associate Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University and specializes in the histories of media, gender, and political culture in early America.

Episode 4 - “Providence and Benevolence in Philadelphia's Yellow Fever of 1793”

Philippa Koch is an Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department at Missouri State University. Her work examines how Christian communities responded to sickness and epidemics in the context of ever-new medical and scientific developments, and how these developments shaped their view of God.

Episode 5 - “Which Public?: Race, Slavery, and Health in the Antebellum United States”

Christopher D. E. Willoughby, Visiting Junior Fellow at the Pennsylvania State University's Center for Humanities & Information, examines the intersection between public health and enslavement in the antebellum United States.

Episode 6 - "Smallpox, Vaccine, and Urban Nature in 1860s San Francisco”

Jennifer Seltz, Associate Professor of History at Western Washington University, explores the controversy around using the smallpox vaccine during outbreaks in 1860s San Francisco.

Episode 7 - "Poor Farms and Poor Health: Sites of Public Healthcare in the Nineteenth Century"

Megan Birk, Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, looks at the history of poor farms, which functioned as an early form of public hospitals, during the late nineteenth century.

Episode 8 - "An Eruptive Fever Comes to Muncie"

Kelly Hacker Jones is a public historian with Big Onion Walking Tours in New York. Her work examines the history of medicine, women's and gender studies, and twentieth-century American culture. 

Episode 9 - "The Obsession to Disinfect, and Why It Unequally Impacts Communities"

Jacob Steere-Williams, an Associate Professor of History at the College of Charleston, is a historian of epidemic disease. His work focuses on Britain and its former colonies.