public health

  • When 194,000 Deaths Doesn’t Sound Like So Many

    by Rebecca Onion

    Historian Jacqueline Wernimont explains that the rise of quantification helps to obscure the human beings behind the numbers and makes the COVID-19 toll seem more acceptable. 

  • The Dark Side of Campus Efforts to Stop COVID-19

    by Grace Watkins

    While colleges have a legitimate interest in suppressing virus transmission on campus, it is dangerous to expand the surveillance powers of campus police. 

  • The Summer Sun Didn’t Stop Covid-19. Here’s Why.

    by Janet Golden and Christian Warren

    The misguided hope that the summer sun would stop COVID-19 in its tracks is one of a long series of claims made about the health benefits of the sun. They all reflect how magical thinking can leap into the gaps of scientific certainty. 

  • No, There Isn’t A Constitutional Right To Not Wear Masks

    by Helena Rosenblatt

    Libertarian arguments against compulsory mask-wearing to fight COVID-19 claim the mantle of individual liberty but ignore the way that liberal theory has focused on both rights and duties as the core of the social contract. 

  • Plague and Protest Go Hand in Hand

    Scholars like Philip Ziegler and Mark Senn have argued that the Black Death of 1348 laid the groundwork for the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, the first large-scale popular revolt in England.

  • Architecting a “New Normal”? Past Pandemics and the Medicine of Urban Planning

    by Jennifer Hart, Nate Plageman and Tony Yeboah

    In our research efforts – and in those of many other urban scholars examining African contexts – we’ve repeatedly seen how medical experts and modernist urban planners exploited outbreaks of disease to legitimize their emerging systems of technical expertise and advance white supremacy, global capitalism, and imperial order.

  • The Problem with Asking Police to Enforce Public Health Measures

    by Emily Brooks

    World War II-era campaigns against prostitution in New York City show that enacting public health controls through the police department results in racially unequal enforcement and increased policing of communities of color. 

  • The Last Pandemic

    by E. Thomas Ewing

    As we look to history for lessons in early 2020, we need to think broadly about how understanding the complexity of the past can inform decisions in the present and the future.