Graham School Events

Pandemics In History: A Lecture Series with Professor Michael Rossi: Modern Medicine in the Time of Pandemic Influenza


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

Female Scientist Holding Up Six Purple Lab Cultures

Join us for Part Three 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.

Download the pre-reading for the lecture 

check out the full series

Modern Medicine in the Time of Pandemic Influenza

By the turn of the twentieth century, the successes of public health and the promises of new vaccines suggested to some observers that modern medicine might, in the not-too-distant future, entirely conquer epidemics. The influenza pandemic of 1918 brought those hopes crashing down, as nations around the world struggled to contain a new, strange, and deadly illness that resonated across the world like a bell. If the 1918 influenza pandemic shattered some naive dreams of medical progress, its deadly passage set the foundation for twentieth century biomedicine.

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