How do pandemics end?
We are living in a world radically reshaped by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This course will investigate the wide range of questions raised by the pandemic, its impact and significance. We will also examine how diseases raise fundamental issues for science, policy, and society. In addition to assessing our scientific and medical knowledge about COVID-19, the course will utilize strategies from history, the humanities, and the social sciences to illuminate central policy and political considerations for addressing the epidemic in the U.S. and across the globe. The course will bring experts from a wide array of fields to offer approaches for understanding essential issues raised by the pandemic, including: the science of the virus; medical and public health responses; as well as its impact on economies, society, and culture. We will also broadly consider how epidemics reveal existing social structures such as fundamental health disparities and social inequalities. Among the questions we will explore are: how do we balance basic freedoms and social restrictions as we face critical new threats to human health; and how do we think about risk and vulnerability in the face of uncertainty from a both a personal and political viewpoint? As this epidemic unfolds in real time, you will have an opportunity to integrate interdisciplinary perspectives for understanding epidemic disease and how it shapes and reflects powerful social forces and global systems.