Graham School Events

Pandemics In History: A Lecture Series with Professor Michael Rossi: AIDS, Politics, and Power


A virtual lecture series with Professor Michael Rossi hosted on Zoom.

Group of protestors lined up across a busy street.

Join us for Part Four of our four-part lecture series.

Today we find ourselves in what seems to be a new historic moment. COVID-19 has not only taken lives, but its menace has spawned profound changes in social and cultural practices across the globe, from facial coverings to social distancing. But coronavirus is not the first pathogen to threaten the human species. In this series, Michael Rossi, Assistant Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Chicago, will explore four pandemics—bubonic plague, cholera, influenza, and HIV-AIDS—that have likewise challenged human beings and transformed the ways that we have lived, worked, loved, and clashed. 

Investigating these historical episodes will offer participants a new vantage point to reflect upon the novelty of our present circumstances, as well as to consider the ways we are traveling well-trodden pathways that have long linked disease to the human experience. 

Offered remotely and free of charge by the University of Chicago Graham School, these four Wednesday sessions will combine live lectures by Professor Rossi with moderated discussions on short, pre-distributed readings.  

Registration is required. Curiosity and good will is expected. A certain sobering enrichment is anticipated, as is an appreciation for the hope and will to live that have guided people through time.

check out the full series

AIDS, Politics, and Power

Following the eradication of smallpox, the miracle of antibiotics, and the development of fields like molecular biology, virology, and genetics, scientific medicine was ascendent in the late twentieth century. It seemed that the optimism of the twentieth century had at last come to its fruition, and that for any disease there could be a cure, or so it seemed. And yet, biomedicine did not yield medical utopia — the emergence of HIV/AIDS at the turn of the millennium exposed not only the persistence of epidemic disease, and power of science for understanding novel pathogens, but also the persistently, profoundly political nature of disease in the age of biomedicine.

About the Professor


Register now

Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults
Master of Liberal Arts
The Open Program in the Liberal Arts
The Writer's Studio