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Topics in History: In Health and Sickness: How Pandemics Shaped the History of the World

An image of a Victorian fan with the text "Schenck's Mandrake Pills for all Bilious Complaints"

This course brings together global historical analyses on past pandemics, community engagement in the Kingston area, and experiential learning opportunities in local museums and archives, to weave an innovative and insightful understanding of the role the pandemics have played in shaping our contemporary society and our understanding of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). Drawing from the local history of long-term global processes shaped by past pandemics including the Black Death, smallpox, cholera, typhoid, malaria, polio, the Spanish flu, tuberculosis, and syphilis, the students will learn about the following historical themes: the history of the evolution of hospitals, sanitation movements, the rise of patent medicines and the opiates industry, the growth of tropical medicine, legal apparatuses on controlling poverty, attempts to solve childhood mortality, the story of politicizing nutrition, and the nuances of governmental control over bodies. 

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.