Typhoid Fever and the Origins of Epidemiology in Victorian Britain
Where: The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Ave.
212-822-7200 Price: Free
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This talk, based on the forthcoming book, The Filth Disease: Typhoid Fever and the Practices of Epidemiology in Victorian England, examines the emergence of a state-sponsored, global approach to epidemiology that began in nineteenth-century Britain. Through studying successive outbreaks of typhoid fever, a food-and-water-borne infectious disease that was at its height in the nineteenth-century industrial period, epidemiologists working in local, national, and colonial settings grappled with problems fundamental to modern epidemiology: what methods are best used to study outbreaks that do not follow geopolitical borders; how is epidemiology best communicated to various publics; and how does epidemiology contribute to positive public health change?
Thinking through the long history of epidemiology dovetails with broader patterns of pandemics and pandemic control in modern history as we face the global threat of COVID-19 today.
About the Speaker
Jacob Steere-Williams, PhD, is Associate Professor of History at the College of Charleston, where he also serves as the Graduate Director. His teaching and research interests are in the history of epidemic disease, particularly in nineteenth century Britain and the former British Empire. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles on the history of disease, public health, and science, and also has written extensively for popular audiences. His book, The Filth Disease: Typhoid Fever and the Practices of Epidemiology in Victorian England, is due out in November 2020 with the University of Rochester Press. Jacob is also the Assistant Editor of the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences.