Intervals

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.

Episode 10 - "Dine Doctor Histories: COVID-19 and Generations of Navajo Healers"


Farina King is an Associate Professor of History at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Her current project traces the histories of Dine healers as they fight agains colonialism and disease.

Episode 11 - "Pandemic Pedagogy and the Influenza of 1918"


Christian Anderson is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of South Carolina. His work looks at cross-cultural and transnational models for comparative higher education, particularly with respect to universities in Latin America.

Episode 12 - "American Religion and the Influenza of 1918"


Susan Breitzer is an educational content writer and independent scholar specializing in U.S. religious and labor history.

Episode 13 - "Aerobiology and the History of War"


Gerard Fitzgerald is a visiting scholar in the art history and history departments at George Mason University. His research focuses on the work of William Firth Wells of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School who discovered droplet nuclei in 1934.

Episode 14 - "Public Health and the Memory of Internment"


Kenneth Marcus is a professor of history at the University of La Verne. 

Episode 15 - "Jim Crow and Southern Psychiatry"


Kylie Smith is an associate professor of history at Emory University. She is a historian of psychiatry, nursing, and medical civil rights. 

Episode 16 - "Ecology and Protest in 1960s NYC"


Tina Peabody is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Albany, SUNY. She is currently completing her dissertation entitled "Wretched Refuse: A Social and Economic History of Waste Management in New York City."  

Episode 17 - "Abortion and Public Health in Pre-Roe California"


Alicia Gutierrez-Romine is an assistant professor of history at La Sierra University. Her recent book, From Back Alley to the Border: Criminal Abortion in California, 1920-1969, explores the history of illegal abortion in California forcusing on abortion providers and the women who visited them, following them from the notorious back alley to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Episode 18 - "Tuberculosis and Settler Colonialism in Cold War Alaska"


Tess Lanzarotta is a historian of modern medicine whose research focuses on indigeneity, settler colonialism, and biomedical knowledge in the circumpolar regions. She is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. 

Episode 19 - "HIV/AIDS in Black America"


Dan Royles is an assistant professor of history at Florida International University. His book, To Make the Wounded Whole: African-American Responses to HIV/AIDS (2020), examines grassroots responses to the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on Black communities.

Episode 20 - "Why So Many? Filipino Nurses & the COVID Frontlines"


Catherine Ceniza Choy is professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of the book, Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History (2003), which explored how and why the Philippines became the leading exporter of professional nurses to the United States.