In 2020, COVID-19 has led to global awareness that epidemic disease is hardly a thing of the past. How have societies risen to the challenge of earlier epidemic and pandemic diseases? This seminar takes the example of plague, which affected many late medieval and early modern societies, transforming their understanding of disease, raising questions of the efficacy of medicine, and challenging them to conceive of the idea of public health. How did disease additionally alter perceptions of society and its values?
Pioneer Open Summer Study (POSS) is completely independent from the Pioneer Research Program. Students who participate in POSS CANNOT list POSS as a Pioneer Research Program credit in their college applications for the following reasons:
This program emphasizes critical thinking, careful reading, contextual analysis, and the development of good research and presentation skills. We will look closely at the age of plague as a case study to stimulate our understanding of modern epidemics and pandemics as well as the long afterlife of the “Black Death.” What are the myths and realities, the science and the culture, the short-term effects and long-term consequences of disease on society?
Paula Findlen is Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History and is Director of the Suppes Center for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at Stanford University. Her research and teaching focuses on the early history of science and medicine as well as understanding the Italian Renaissance. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Professor Findlen has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, including a Fulbright and Guggenheim. Her most recent publications include Leonardo’s Library: The World of a Renaissance Reader and Empires of Knowledge: Scientific Networks in the Early Modern World. She is the 2016 recipient of the Premio Galileo for her contributions to understanding Italian science and culture.
Each team of students will develop and present a collaborative research project related to the history of epidemics and pandemics that will analyze how medicine and society respond to disease. Your project will take two forms: (1) a 10-minute presentation in week 5; and (2) a ca. 12-15 pages (Times Roman, 12 point font, double-spaced) written presentation with each student being responsible for researching and writing a 2-page section and the entire group writing the introduction and conclusion together, and assembling the bibliography that supports their research.
To be eligible to participate in Pioneer Open Summer Study, the following requirements must be met: