IF PAST IS PROLOGUE: The Plague Last Time
Thursday, October 29, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Yersinia pestis, the plague bacterium, has emerged at key moments in history. Join us for a discussion, relevant to our time, of how pandemics due to a single bacterium swept the world three times - in antiquity, in the Middle Ages, and at the turn of the twentieth century - affecting different societies but triggering similar responses, changing the body politic!
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Triumph of Death, c. 1562
As the Justinian Plague (541 AD) it shook the Roman and Persian empires and as the Black Death (1347) it emptied feudal estates of serfs. Its reemergence in the 1890s drew microbiologists to East Asia, where they competed to develop vaccines and cures, even as public health authorities tried to keep plague from spreading and commercial interests downplayed its existence.
Smith Alumnae Gale Eaton ‘69, Ph.D., and Marguerite Vigliani, ’70, MD, will explore how Yersinia pestis, the plague bacterium, changed the course of western history more than once, drawing on their course for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Rhode Island. Recurring at such long intervals, plague offers a unique historical perspective on the impact pandemics have exerted on politics, economics and social structure, as well as examples of how they are spread by trade, wars, and animal vectors, and how they may be stopped or at least slowed by public health measures, the development of vaccines, and eventual herd immunity.
Topic: IF PAST IS PROLOGUE: The Plague Last Time
Date: Thursday, October 29, 2020
Time: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EDT)
Limit: 100 participants
Free of charge for members and non-members
You must be registered before 3:00 PM on Thursday, October 29, 2020, to join the event.
The Zoom link and password details will be shared the day before and again on the day of the event.