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Epidemic Emergences

Fall 2021: Monday 3pm-6pm
Ross-Blakely Hall, Room 171

  • What do previous human experiences with epidemics reveal about this moment in US history?
  • What systemic injustices have been revealed by the pandemic and how can they be addressed?
  • How have different communities crafted cultural responses to this current pandemic and how can those healing practices and values be supported?
  • How can care networks be built to anticipate and respond to health challenges in the future?

How can the US emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic as a culture that is healthier and more just?

This course will interrogate the histories of epidemics and the stories that help us heal. Emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic creates the potential for new reckonings and understandings of how health is supported or imperiled in human communities. Drawing from literature, disability studies, the health humanities, critical race theory, gender and sexuality studies and bioethics, students will think about the many communities impacted (in deeply disparate ways) by contagious diseases to ask how and whether we can promote health justice. What does justice look like during and after a pandemic? Focusing on various cultural responses to epidemic diseases in the past and the present, this lab will encourage students to research possibilities in order to imagine and build better and more just futures.


  • Collaborators TBA

Impact Outcomes

Students will share their findings with the general public in a format of their choosing. This will be updated several times. Include intended outcomes and then when Lab is over, come back here to update with examples of some of the outcomes.

Epidemics in the News

At the Humanities Lab, we strive to ensure our Labs are relevant and current. Here are some recent articles about epidemics in today’s news!

Why the Virus Is a Civil Rights Issue: ‘The Pain Will Not Be Shared Equally’
Lessons In Handling Health Crises The U.S. Can Learn From AIDS Epidemic

Enrollment Information

Fall 2021: Monday 3pm-6pm and *Wednesday 3pm-4:15pm

Ross Blakley Hall, 171, Session C

  • Humanities Lab HUL 494 and 598
  • Anthropology ASB 494 and 598
  • Justice Studies JUS 494 and 598
  • History HST 494 and 598
  • Religious Studies REL 494
  • Biology BIO 494
  • English ENG 494 and 598
*Lab time is for students to work on activities and assignments, especially skill-building and collaborative Lab projects. Contact faculty about required Lab times.

Sign up today!

Instructional Team

Faculty: Jennifer Brian Bioethics Barrett Honors College Epidemic Emergences Fall 2021
Faculty: Cora Fox English Department of English Epidemic Emergences Fall 2021