UN3048: Pandemics: A Global History | K. Sivaramakrishnan

Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Undergraduate Lecture
Class Time TBD

With an interdisciplinary perspective, this course seeks to expand the understanding of past pandemic crises and recent, lived pandemics such as COVID-19. COVID-19 has brought up urgent questions about how we can understand and historicize pandemics and trace the changing relationship between disease and its vectors, humans and their environments. This course seeks to expand the understanding of past and recent pandemics through a historical lens that traces the deep seated racial and class disparities, social and cultural stigma, and political responses and control that they were expressed and deployed during these historical crises. It seeks to understand and analyze pandemics as representing complex, disruptive and devastating crises that effect profound transformations in ideas, social and economic relations and challenge interdependent networks and cultures.

Pandemics are balanced in a global-local flux between dramaturgic, proliferating, contagious outbreaks; and endemic, chronic infections that have prolonged periods of latency before again remerging through new transmissions. They also serve as a crucial lens to analyze a range of historical connections, ensions and movements ranging from colonialism and the politics of borders, global capitalism and labor, migration and mobility, decolonization and development, and neoliberalism and global health politics.

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