CEERES Director's Lecture: Endings in Crisis: Pandemic Narratives in Times of Conflict

Social Sciences Tea Room, Zoom

Please join CEERES for our annual Director’s Lecture series on Tuesday, April 19, at 5:30 PM (US Central Time).

In person attendance will be located in the Social Sciences Tea Room, 1126 E. 59th Street, 2nd Floor.

Online attendees should register at the following link: https://uchicago.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RYm9xv5bTEGHojz7ScIOjw

Endings in Crisis: Pandemic Narratives in Times of Conflict

The enduring persistence, resurgence and mutation of many epidemic diseases have made apparent the problematic nature of the ‘epidemic disease narrative’ in the 21st century. With the quick succession of intractable global epidemic crises in the early 21st century, clear narratives of beginning, crisis and ‘ending’ have become increasingly untenable as a comprehensive explanatory model. Historical research can help us understand how epidemic narratives fueled and mobilized people and resources in the 20th century, and approaches we need to consider as we are faced with the uncertain trajectory of many diseases in the 21st century. As a devastating destruction is ravaging Ukraine, the question of overlapping crises and the intertwining narratives of epidemics and war are particularly important to address and place in historical context. This lecture aims to shift our attention to question what, when and for whom is an end of an epidemic ‘the end’, and what happens after.

Dora Vargha is Professor of History and Medical Humanities based jointly at Humboldt University in Berlin and the University of Exeter.