History of Epidemics: Academic Resources

Epidemics, over and above the human suffering they bring, create panic and disruption and expose weaknesses in social and economic structures. They leave exposed those most vulnerable in our societies. As scientists, governments, health organisations and authorities work to contain the spread of COVID-19, we as historians can explore and learn from the outbreak and management of epidemics in the past.

In this difficult time, the Society is compiling here a list of resources to help our members and those interested in the history of disease. If you have any materials that you would like added to this list, please contact our webmaster, Dr Anne Hanley (a.hanley@bbk.ac.uk).

Thumbnail image credit: https://wellcomecollection.org/works/a26h3zea

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W. Anderson, Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race and Hygiene in the Philippines (Duke University Press 2006)

David Arnold, ‘Disease, Rumour and Panic in India’s Plague and Influenza Epidemics, 18961919, in Empires of Panic: Epidemics and Colonial Anxieties Robert Peckham (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2015)

D. Arnold, Colonizing the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease (1993)

P. Baldwin, Disease and Democracy: The Industrialized World Faces AIDS (University of California Press, 2005)

Peter Baldwin, Contagion and the state in Europe, 1830–1930

A. Bashford (ed) Medicine at the border: disease, globalization and security, 1850 to the present (Palgrave 2006)

Baptiste Baylac-Paouly, ‘Confronting an Emergency: The Vaccination Campaign Against Meningitis in Brazil (1974–1975)‘, Social History of Medicine (2019).

J. Biehl, ‘Drugs for All: The Future of Global AIDS Treatment’, Medical Anthropology (2008), 1–7

A.M. Brandt, ‘How AIDS Invented Global Health’, New England Journal of Medicine (2013): 2149–52

A.M. Brandt. “AIDS in historical perspective: Four lessons from the history of sexually transmitted diseases”, American Journal of Public Health (1988), 367–71

A.M. Brandt, No Magic Bullet: A Social History of Venereal Disease in the United States since 1880 (Oxford University Press 1987)

Michael Bresalier, Uses of a Pandemic: Forging the Identities of Influenza and Virus Research in Interwar Britain

Michael Bresalier, ‘Fighting Flu: Military Pathology, Vaccines, and the Conflicted Identity of the 1918–19 Pandemic in Britain’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2013): 87–128 

J. Brier, Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis (UNC Press, 2009)

Helen Bynum, Spitting Blood: The History of Tuberculosis

Tom Dicke, ‘Waiting for the Flu: Cognitive Inertia and the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918–19’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2015): 195–217

P. Chakrabhati, ‘Imperialism and the globalization of disease’, Medicine and Empire (Palgrave, 2014), 73–101

Samuel K. Cohn Jr, ‘The Great Influenza. A Pandemic of Compassion’ in Epidemics: Hates and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS (Oxford University Press, 2018   

S.K. Cohn, Epidemics: Hate and Compassion from Plague to AIDS (Oxford University Press, 2017)

S.K. Cohn, The Black Death Transformed: Disease and culture in early Renaissance Europe (Oxford University Press, 2002)

S. K. Cohn, Cultures of Plague: Medical Thinking at the End of the Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2010)

S. Craddock and T. Giles-Vernick, eds., Influenza and Public Health: Learning from Past Pandemics (Earthscan, 2010)

A.W. Crosby, America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918 (Cambridge University Press, 1989)

A.W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Praeger, 2003) 

A. Crosby, ‘Virgin Soil Epidemics as a Factor in the Aboriginal Depopulation in AmericaWilliam and Mary Quarterly (1976), 289–99

A. Cunningham, ‘Transforming plague: the laboratory and the identity of infectious disease In A. Cunningham and P. Williams, P. (eds) The Laboratory Revolution in Medicine (Cambridge University Press, 1992), 209–44

M. Davis, Monster at the Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu (London: New Press, 2005)

G. Dehner, Influenza: A Century of Science and Public Health Response (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012)

M. Echenberg, Plague ports: the global urban impact of bubonic plague, 1894–1901 (NYU Press, 2007)

Helen Esfandiary, ‘“We could not answer to ourselves not doing it”: maternal obligations and knowledge of smallpox inoculation in eighteenth-century elite society’, Historical Research (2019): 754–70

S. Epstein, Impure Science: AIDS, Activism and the Politics of Knowledge (University of California Press 1996)

R. Evans, ‘Epidemics and Revolutions: Cholera in Nineteenth Century Europe‘ Past and Present (1988), 123–46

D. Fassin, When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of AIDS in South Africa (University of California Press, 2007)

A. Fairchild and R. Bayer, Searching Eyes: Privacy, the State and Disease Surveillance in America (University of California Press, 2007)

P. Farmer  “Social Inequalities and Emerging Infectious Diseases”, Emerging Infectious Diseases (October–December, 1996), 259–69

E. Fee, and D.M. Fox, (eds), AIDS: The Burdens of History (University of California Press, 1988)

E. Fee and D.M. Fox, (eds.), AIDS: The Making of a Chronic Disease (University of California Press, 1992)

E. Fee and N. Krieger,  ‘Understanding AIDS: Historical Interpretations and the Limits of Biomedical Individualism’, American Journal of Public Health (1993), 1482–83

D.P. Fidler, “SARS: Political Philosophy of the First Post-Westphalian Pathogen,” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 31 (2003), 485–505

D.P. Fidler, SARS, Governance and the Globalization of Disease (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004)

M. Gandy and A. Zumla (eds), The Return of the White Plague: Global Poverty and the ‘New’ Tuberculosis (Verso Press 2003)

A. Hardy, “Animals, disease and man: making connections”, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine (2003): 200–215

James J. Harris, ‘H1N1 in the “A1 Empire”: Pandemic Influenza, Military Medicine, and the British Transition from War to Peace, 1918–1920’, Social History of Medicine (2018)

John M. Eyler, ‘The Fog of Research: Influenza Vaccine Trials during the 1918–19 Pandemic’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2009), 401–28

Anna Hájková, ‘Medicine in Theresienstadt‘, Social History of Medicine (2020): 1–27

C. Hamlin, ‘Public Health, in M. Jackson (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine, 411–28

C. Hamlin, Public Health and Social Justice in the Age of Chadwick (1998)

Evelynn Hammonds, “Gendering the Epidemic: Feminism and the Epidemic of HIV / AIDS in the United States, 1981–1999”, Angela N. H. Creager, Elizabeth Lunbeck, and Londa Schiebinger (eds), Feminism in Twentieth-Century Science, Technology, and Medicine (University of Chicago Press. 2001), 230–44.

Mark Harrison, ‘Pandemics’, in M. Jackson (ed.), The Routledge History of Disease (2016), 129-46

M. Harrison, Disease and the Modern World (Polity, 2004) 

Mark Harrison, Contagion: How Commerce has Spread Disease (2020)

J.N. Hays, The Burdens of Disease: Epidemics and Human Response in Western History (Rutgers University Press, 2009)

D. Herring and A. Swedlund (eds), Plagues and Epidemics: Infected Spaces Past and Present (2010)

Mark Honigsbaum, The Great Dread: Cultural and Psychological Impacts and Responses to the ‘Russian’ Influenza in the United Kingdom, 1889–1893

Mark Honigsbaum, Living with Enza: The Forgotten Story of Britain and the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918

Mark Honigsbaum, The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris (2019)

Stephanie Howard-Smith, ‘Mad Dogs, Sad Dogs and the ‘War against Curs’ in London in 1760‘, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2019): 101–18

J. Iliffe, The African AIDS Epidemic: A History (James Currey, 2006)

Catherine Kudlick, “Smallpox, Disability, and Survival in Nineteenth-Century France: Rewriting Paradigms from a New Epidemic Script.”, Susan Burch and Michael Rembis (eds), In Disability Histories (University of Illinois Press. 2014), 185–200.

M. Jackson (ed.), The Routledge History of Disease (Routledge 2016)

Niall Johnson, Britain and the 1918–19 Influenza Pandemic: A dark epilogue

D.S. Jones, ‘Virgin Soil Epidemics Revisited’, William and Mary Quarterly (2003), 703–42

David Killingray, The Influenza Pandemic of 1918–1919 in the British Caribbean

David Killingray and Howard Phillips (eds), The Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918–19: New perspectives

N.B. King, ‘Security, Disease, Commerce: Ideologies of Post-Colonial Global Health‘, Social Studies of Science (2002), 763–90

J. Lederberg, ‘Pandemic as a natural evolutionary phenomena’, Social Research (1988): 343–59

J. Lederberg, ‘Infectious history’Science (2000), 287–93

E. Le Roy Ladurie, ‘A concept: the unification of the globe by disease’, The mind and method of the historian (Harvester Press, 1981)

Lori Loeb, ‘Beating the Flu: Orthodox and Commercial Responses to Influenza in Britain, 1889–1919’, Social History of Medicine (2005): 203–24

Gabriel Lopes and Luísa Reis-Castro, “A Vector in the (Re)Making: A History of Aedes Aegypti as Mosquitoes That Transmit Diseases in Brazil” Christos Lynteris (ed.), In Framing Animals as Epidemic Villains (Palgrave Macmillan. 2019), 147–75

Christos Lynteris (ed.), Framing Animals as Epidemic Villains: Histories of Non-Human Disease Vectors (Palgrave, 2019).

H. Markel, ‘Ebola Fever and Global Health Responsibilities’, Milbank Quarterly (2014), 633–39

Richard A. McKay, Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

Erica Charters and Richard A. McKay, ‘The history of science and medicine in the context of COVID‐19‘, Centaurus (July 2020).

Gareth Millward, Vaccinating Britain: Mass vaccination and the public since the Second World War

Ida Milne, Stacking the coffins: Influenza, war and revolution in Ireland, 1918–19

W. McNeill, Plagues and Peoples  (New York: Anchor Books, 1977).

D.J. Neill, Networks in Tropical Medicine: Internationalism, Colonialism, and the Rise of a Medical Specialty, 1890–1930 (Stanford University Press, 2012)

D. Nelkin & S. Gilman, “Placing blame for a devastating disease”, Social Research (1988), 361–78 

R. Packard, The Making of a Tropical Disease, a Short History of Malaria (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) 

C. Patton,  Globalizing AIDS (University of Minnesota Press, 2002)

Howard Phillips, ‘The recent wave of ‘Spanish’ Flu Historiography’, Social History of Medicine (2014): 789–808

Howard Phillips, The Recent Wave of ‘Spanish’ Flu Historiography

Dorothy Porter (ed.), The History of Public Health and the Modern State

Dorothy Porter, Health, Civilisation and the State: A History of Public Health from Ancient to Modern Times (1999)

T. Ranger and P. Slack (eds.), Epidemics and Ideas

George Rosen, A History of Public Health

C. Rosenberg, Explaining Epidemics and Other Studies in the History of Medicine (1992)

C. Rosenberg and J. Golden (eds.), Framing Disease (1992)

I. Scoones & P. Forster, ed., Avian Influenza: Science, Policy and Politics (Earthscan, 2010)

P. Slack, The Impact of Plague in Tudor and Stuart England (1985)

P. Slack, Plague: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) 

S. Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors (Penguin, 2002)

N.L. Stepan, Eradication: Ridding the World of Diseases Forever (Reaktion Books, 2011)

A.M. Stern and H. Markel, ‘International Efforts to Control Infectious Diseases, 1851 to the Present’, Journal of the American Medical Association (2004), 1474–79

Eugenia Tognotti, ‘Scientific Triumphalism and Learning from Facts: Bacteriology and the “Spanish Flu” Challenge of 1918’, Social History of Medicine (2003): 97–110

Sandra Tomkins, ‘The Failure of Expertise: Public Health Policy in Britain during the 1918–19 Influenza Epidemic’, Social History of Medicine (1992): 435–54.

P. Wald, Contagious: Cultures, Carriers and the Outbreak Narrative (Duke, 2008)

Rosemary Wall, Bacteria in Britain, 1880–1939 

Patrick Wallis, ‘A dreadful heritage: Interpreting Epidemic Disease at Eyam, 1666–2000’, History Workshop Journal 61:1 (2006), 31–56

S. Watts, Epidemics and History: Disease, Power and Imperialism (Yale University Press, 1997)

Michael Willrich, Pox: An American History (2012)

M. Worboys,  Spreading Germs: Disease Theories and Medical Practice in Britain, 1865–1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

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