Bring Out Your Dead: Infectious Disease Through History

The history of humanity has been interwoven with the history of disease, and despite medical advances in the past century, infectious diseases remain a threat to human well-being worldwide. This interdisciplinary course will explore infectious disease from two different disciplinary perspectives: biology and history. We will study outbreaks of devastating diseases in world history—including the Black Death, smallpox, and influenza. We will examine the biology of disease, including transmission, diagnosis, and control, as well as how those diseases affected humans throughout history. We will use historical methods to investigate human reactions, political responses, and social and economic consequences. We will also look at portrayals of infectious diseases in American pop culture, including movies and TV.