Professor Snowden describes the historical detective work that went into the research and writing of Naples in the Time of Cholera, his study of the 1884 and 1911 epidemics of Asiatic cholera that struck Italy. The latter epidemic is of particular interest, because the official historiography of the disease has long confined its outbreaks in Western Europe to the nineteenth century. Through his investigation, Snowden discovered that there was in fact an epidemic on Italian shores in 1911, and that its absence from subsequent histories was the result of concerted efforts of concealment on the part of Italian and U.S. authorities. The story of this successful concealment sheds light not only on the history of Asiatic cholera in the early twentieth century, but also on more recent public health campaigns that have involved concealment, such as China's response to the 2002 SARS epidemic.
This course consists of an international analysis of the impact of epidemic diseases on western society and culture from the bubonic plague to HIV/AIDS and the recent experience of SARS and swine flu. Leading themes include: infectious disease and its impact on society; the development of public health measures; the role of medical ethics; the genre of plague literature; the social reactions of mass hysteria and violence; the rise of the germ theory of disease; the development of tropical medicine; a comparison of the social, cultural, and historical impact of major infectious diseases; and the issue of emerging and re-emerging diseases.
As one of the world's great universities, Yale traces its roots back to the early 1640s when colonial clergyman sought to establish a school in order to continue the tradition of European education within the Americas. Yale has now grown to educate over 11,000 students from over 100 countries on a 310-acre campus in New Haven, Connecticut. Within the school's 260 buildings are over 2,000 undergraduate programs in 65 departments taught by a distinguished faculty. As Academic Earth's first partner school, Yale has been a leader within the space of OpenCourseWare by consistently delivering on its esteemed mission to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.