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From the Classroom

Students in my undergraduate Disease and Society in the Modern World were asked to write blog posts. They could choose to write non-fiction pieces that would distill and mobilize historical knowledge about infectious disease outbreaks; or, to write fictionalized narratives. There were a lot of wonderful responses to this assignment: several of them appear below.


  • Pandemics past and present

    FREE COURSE. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to learn first-hand from internationally recognized scholars based at University of Manitoba. Online or in-person.

  • Diary of the Cholera Horror in Liverpool

    Diary of the Cholera Horror in Liverpool

    It was the year of 1832, May 17th to be exact, when the distemper had begun in Liverpool.[1] The city flooded with concern. People had been going missing, and many had speculations on the matter, intuitively that it smelled like rat. The city was known to be impoverished, unsanitary, and overpopulated.[2] Consequently, this state left… 

  • ‘Bring out the Burkers!’

    ‘Bring out the Burkers!’

    What Can Conspiracies Tell Us About Society? Cholera is a frightening bacterial disease that could become fatal in as little as twelve hours.[1] Today, we have a better understanding of this infection due to modern medicine and technology, but looking at the history of diseases is illuminating for many other reasons beyond just the disease… 

  • Does Cholera Now Prevail?

    Does Cholera Now Prevail?

    September 4, 1854 After 1849 I had hoped to never see Asiatic Cholera in London again. The hospitals have been filling up with cases since last year. There’s been a substantial outbreak that began in Saint James’s parish roughly five days ago, and many are already dead.[i] St. James! Not St. Giles, where it killed…