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First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Plagues and their Power on Human Society

Instructor(s): Sylvia McDevitt, Biology

What determines the fate of human societies? Since the beginning, humans have had to deal with diseases which developed alongside humankind. Some diseases seem to have been around forever whereas others developed more recently. How did major outbreaks of diseases shape the historical events of their time? From the six plagues of antiquity we will move to the first recorded incident of biological warfare and the disease causing the death of one third of the European population of the 14thcentury. Students will study disease-linked historical events including the impact of present-day diseases like AIDS and TB. Students in this seminar will explore human diseases and their influence on historical events and impact on society. Topics include biological, medical, historical and social aspects of these diseases as well as their influence on literature and art.

Course Offered