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Epidemics and Contagious Diseases: The Legacy of the Past

(2023 - 2025)
Chair (s) 
Tim Riswick (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Alain Gagnon (Université de Montréal)
Raquel Pollero (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)
Lucia Pozzi (Università degli Studi Di Sassari)
Diego Ramiro Fariñas (IEGD-CCHS Spanish National Research Council (CSIC))
Alice Reid (University of Cambridge)
Lone Simonsen (Roskilde University, Denmark)
Council Liaison 
Géraldine Duthé (Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED))
IUSSP Secretariat 
Paul Monet (International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP))
Terms of Reference: 

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that the history of epidemic and contagious diseases is far from over. It has revealed deep-seated, structural inequalities in health as well. Still, we know surprisingly little about the historical roots of these contemporary inequalities in health, and if the impact of epidemics and contagious disease changed over time due to societal changes. Furthermore, it is unclear what the social, economic, environmental or epidemiological drivers are for divergences in mortality resulting from epidemics and contagious diseases over time and place.

Workshops will be organized on specific historical epidemics and contagious diseases (such as tuberculosis, influenza, smallpox, plague, malaria) and methodological issues. The scholars invited will be drawn from a great variety of disciplines because research on the historical legacy of epidemics and contagious diseases has tended to be far too fragmented by disciplinary boundaries.

  • Workshop: "Tuberculosis. The White Death as a Social Disease" (University of Sassari, Italy)
  • Workshop: "From influenza to COVID-19" (Spanish National Research Council)
  • Workshop: "New online tools for coding, classifying and analyzing (historical) individual-level causes of death" (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
  • Workshop: "New ways of transcribing, visualizing, publishing, and providing access to data on epidemics and contagious diseases" (University of Zurich, Switzerland).