A Repression of Things Past: Reflections of Memory and Pandemics in the Wake of Covid
Free hybrid talk – join us in Oxford or online.
While stories of the Black Death, smallpox, and consumption still haunt our collective imagination, why do the memories of other equally terrifying afflictions seem so conspicuously absent? It appears that among most epidemics – even those associated with particularly high levels of mortality – the historical record lies empty of such evidence.
Dr Nicholas E. Bonneau will explore several past pandemics, from the Plague of Justinian to the Great Influenza of 1918, and the unexpected 'forgetting' which seems to have followed them. Exploring this strange reality may enable us to consider better what lies ahead for our own society and how (and whether) we might choose to record our own experiences of death and survival.
Nicholas Bonneau is a visiting lecturer at the University of Maryland and visiting scholar at Franklin and Marshall College.