Epidemics, Globalization, and Culture


Bill Garrett, PhD


Since the emergence of organized communities some 10,000 years ago, the career of the human species has been marked and configured by epidemics. When we live in groups, we infect each other― but we also immunize each other.  The emergence of mega-cities, the dynamics of globalization and climate-change, the advances in transportation technologies, cultural resistance to science― all these present unique liabilities for catastrophic disease in the 21st century.


The challenges are never-ending. To be alive is to be in a constant evolutionary arms-race with pathogens. Our course will survey recent thinking and strategies of epidemiology in regard to recent infectious diseases (like Ebola and Zika) as well as those that have impacted human history (like Bubonic Plague, cholera, and influenza).







#1: The Logic of Pandemics

#2: Influenza: Past & Future

#3: The Microbiome and the Engagement of Future Epidemics

#4: Climate Change and Epidemics


Supplementary Readings

Vital Concepts and Terminology



PBS American Experience: Influenza 1918

Food Incorporated (2009)