Lecture, Online Video     

What We Can Learn from the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 – 1919

While the reality of COVID-19 continues to involve and effect every part of our culture, in terms of public health, socialization, the economy, foreign policy, and beyond, what might we glean from the lessons of our past? Not knowing what the eventual toll will be, looking into the lessons of history —and the impact of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic (which infected 20 – 30% of the world’s population, accounting for as many as 50 million deaths including roughly 675,000 Americans) — could perhaps offer clues to how we might navigate this moment collectively.

How did the nation, in the post-WWI-era, manage sheltering-in-place, quarantine, and socially distancing in the name of a greater good? How did this affect broader discussions of public health in the face of a global crisis? How did the engines economic growth respond and recover? What can we learn from how the 1918 epidemic influenced an outgrowth of isolationist foreign policies and stringent immigration laws?

Join WorldOregon and OHS for a discussion with Christopher McKnight Nichols for a timely exploration of how the 1918 influenza epidemic might inform our understanding of the past and how engaging coherent policy and diligence might slow the path.

Event Type: Lecture, Online VideoAudience(s): Teachers, Researchers

Christopher McKnight Nichols is an associate professor of history at Oregon State University, where he also directs the Center for the Humanities and leads the Citizenship and Crisis Initiative. He specializes in the history of the United States and its relationship to the rest of the world, with a focus on isolationism, internationalism, and globalization. Nichols is the author of Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age (2011, 2015). In 2016, Nichols was named one of 33 Andrew Carnegie Fellows worldwide; he has also been elected a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Nichols is also on the board of the Oregon Historical Society.

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