This talk, presented by Sari Altschuler (English; Associate Director, Northeastern Humanities Center; Founding Director, Health, Humanities, and Society minor at Northeastern University), examines the proliferation and failure of narratives accounting for life during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Key to that failure is a difficulty narrating the infrastructural causes of pandemics, a difficulty that has its roots in the nineteenth-century origins of modern global health. Finally, the talk will consider what we might learn from people who lived with extended global pandemics in the past. For Zoom log-in information, please contact Professor Stephanie Hilger.
About the Speaker
Sari Altschuler’s research focuses primarily on American literature and culture before 1865, literature and medicine, disability studies, and the health humanities, broadly understood. She is the author of The Medical Imagination: Literature and Health in the Early United States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and co-editor of Keywords for Health Humanities (under contract with NYU in the press’s Keywords series) with Jonathan Metzl and Priscilla Wald. Her work has appeared in leading journals, including Early American Literature, Nineteenth-Century Literature, American Literature, American Literary History, PMLA, and the medical journal The Lancet. She serves on the advisory board of American Quarterly and the editorial boards of Early American Literature and American Literature. Her research has received awards from the Society of Early Americanists, the Society for the Historians of the Early American Republic, the Disability History Association, and the Library Company of Philadelphia and long-term funding from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the American Antiquarian Society, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Wellesley College Newhouse Center for the Humanities. She was an assistant professor of English and core faculty member of the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University before joining the Northeastern faculty. During the 2019-2020 academic year, she was on leave as a faculty fellow at the Wellesley College Newhouse Center for the Humanities and an invited professor at Université de ParisParis–Diderot.