Above: History professor Jacob Steere-Williams will be featured at an upcoming Charleston Library Society speaker series event.

Even though the world has been suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years, there remain many lingering questions, misunderstandings and misperceptions about pandemics both past and present – including social impacts and the shifts these events cause within the medical field.

College of Charleston history professor Jacob Steere-Williams and Gettysburg College history professor Jim Downs will address pandemic issues and more as part of the Charleston Library Society Speaker Series on Oct. 14, 2021. The in-person event will be held at the Charleston Library Society located 164 King St. in downtown Charleston. The program begins at begins at 6 p.m.

book cover of the filth diseaseSteere-Williams will discuss his book The Filth Disease: Typhoid Fever and the Practices of Epidemiology in Victorian England, which investigates how local outbreaks of typhoid fever in Victorian Britain led to the emergence of the modern discipline of epidemiology. Downs will highlight his book Maladies of Empire, which looks beyond European urban centers to show how slavery, colonialism and war propelled the development of modern medicine.

RELATED: Learn more about Steere-Williams’ book and how past pandemics relate to the COVID-19 pandemic today.

“Dr. Downs and I have both recently published books on the history of public health, epidemics and epidemiology,” Steere-Williams says. “We will be talking about our individual books, but also more broadly about how the history of epidemiology can help us to understand the COVID-19 pandemic today.”

Steere-Williams says he hopes the audience will gain a deeper perspective of how pandemics produce moments of fear and cultural uncertainty about the role of government and the pace of scientific research.

Tickets for the event are $10 for Charleston Library Society members and $15 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased through eventbrite or by calling 843.723.9912.