Online Lecture on Pandemic Storytelling: Erica Charters and Rita Charon
Donnerstag, 12.11.2020, 19.00 Uhr
Erica Charters (University of Oxford): How Epidemics End: Narratives and DiseaseUrheberrecht: © Erica Charters
Historians of medicine have long pointed out that epidemics are only partly biological events; they are fundamentally social and cultural. Unlike endemic disease, which persists without acknowledgement, epidemics are actually dramatic narratives in which society and its internal tensions take centre stage. But as narratives, how then do epidemics end? An epidemic is understood to have ended when the dramatic narrative it unleashed fades from public discourse, and the disease thus fades into obscurity. This talk will examine the ending of epidemics, focusing in part on the end of the Second Plague Pandemic, and probing what the ‘end’ of an epidemic means.
Erica Charters is a historian of disease, war, and empires. She is Associate Professor of Global History and the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford, where she is also Director of Oxford’s Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, and co-Director of Oxford’s Centre for Global History. She has published on the history of colonial medicine as well as the history of imperial war and its relationship to disease. Her recent publications include the co-edited volume A Global History of Early Modern Violence and a spotlight journal issue on the history of epidemics in the context of COVID-19 . She is currently coordinating a multi-disciplinary project on ‘How epidemics end’.
Charters, Erica, Richard A. McKay. “The history of science and medicine in the context of COVID‐19“ in Centaurus Vol. 62 (2). Spotlight Issue: Histories of epidemics in the time of COVID‐19, May 2020, p. 223-233
Nükhet, Varlik. “Rethinking the history of plague in the time of COVID‐19“ in Centaurus Vol. 62 (2). Spotlight Issue: Histories of epidemics in the time of COVID‐19“, May 2020, p. 285-293
Rita Charon (Columbia University): Black Lives Matter and COVID: The Doomed USUrheberrecht: © Rita Charon
The US pandemic began in winter 2020 with the SARS-CoV-2 virus but quickly became a political pandemic, with ever-more-polarized arguments about federal/state responsibilities, scientific/political priorities, and the by-then-familiar cries of fake news. COVID-19 infected and killed more poor persons of color than others. By May 25, when George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police, the country erupted into a prolonged and increasingly violent racist/anti-racist confrontation.
At the start of the viral pandemic, front-line workers gave eloquent testimony, health care workers and patients gathered on Zoom to reduce social isolation and create community, and everybody read La Peste. Once the Black Lives Matter protests started, the story-telling shifted to exposing the racist past and present of this country. I will display some of the art work viewed during the pandemics as a means to track the doom of this country, from which we may or may not survive (I write this before our presidential election on November 3).
Rita Charon is a general internist, literary scholar, and the originator of the field of narrative medicine. She is Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University. She completed the MD at Harvard in 1978 and the PhD in English at Columbia in 1999, concentrating on the works of Henry James. Her research focuses on the consequences of narrative medicine practice, reflective clinical practice, and health care team effectiveness. She directs the Virginia Apgar Teaching Academy for Medical Educators and Columbia Commons IPE, the health sciences campus interprofessional education and practice program. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Bellagio residency, and recognition from many medical and literary societies. She has served as Visiting Professor at many medical schools and universities in the US and abroad, teaching narrative medicine theory and practice. Her work has been funded by NIH, NEH, and private foundations, and her essays appear in the leading medical and literary journals. Her most recent book, co-authored with seven narrative medicine colleagues, is The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford 2017).