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A History of Epidemics

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0158
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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1849, New York City, Cholera prevention poster

The saying goes that history repeats itself. True to form, epidemics have been a near-constant feature in human life. Up until the 1960s, recurring epidemics were simply a normal fact of daily life, always lurking in the background.

Join award-winning historian Allen Pietrobon, an assistant professor of global affairs at Trinity Washington University, as he highlights some of the lesser-known pandemics and epidemics, revealing how people throughout history dealt with such sudden disease outbreaks. Where did they come from? Whom did they most affect? What was learned in how to treat or prevent them? And how did societies evolve in the wake of deadly pandemics?

Pietrobon explores the cholera epidemics that ravaged 19th-century New York City and the terrifying polio epidemic that first struck America in the 1840s and killed thousands during each generational recurrence.

Discover how epidemics indiscriminately affected lives, killing presidents and paupers alike; and learn about the medical and technological advancements that have helped people to continue living, post-pandemic.

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