October 21: Epidemic Histories and Pandemic Futures

Epidemic Histories and Pandemic Futures

Mitchell Hammond, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Victoria

The City Talks - Epidemic Histories and Pandemic Futures










The histories of infectious diseases and modern cities have always been intertwined. Not only do cities foster the spread of disease, narrative accounts of urban crises in locales such as London, Paris, and New York have framed our understanding of how diseases affect societies in general. While the ongoing coronavirus crisis underscores the importance of cities, its widespread impact also poses a challenge for responses that are rooted in local environments and relationships. Global travel, technologies that collapse physical distance, and new forms of urbanization will shift the relationship of disease and cities in a new ‘pandemic era.

Mitchell Hammond is an assistant professor in the History Department at UVic. His work has included archival research concerning medicine in German cities during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and also studies in the history of epidemics from the early modern era to the present. His book, Epidemics and the Modern World, was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2020. His current project with the working title ‘Medicine in the Modern World’ is also under contract at the University of Toronto.