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The coronavirus years? Historical perspectives on COVID-19 and its aftermath

11 May 2021 - 14:00 pm - 18:00 pm

Online-via Zoom

Organised by Centre for History in Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and History & Policy, Institute of Historical Research

This symposium will draw on historical research to explore the policy challenges that result from significant health and social crises and show how these were addressed in the past. The symposium seeks to move beyond the historical analysis of the ‘emergency’ phase of pandemics and assess their longer running legacies. 

The event consists of two half days of two sessions, tackling three papers in each session with a Q&A to close. The symposium will have two areas of focus:

  • The first centres on health, looking at the implementation of vaccination programmes in the past, and at how the history of other aspects of health and health services may determine the aftermath of COVID-19.
  • The second will examine the economic, social, and political impacts of past shocks, and also at how we can explain global differences in policy responses to COVID-19 by considering regional, national and local histories.

Speakers will show how past policy was developed and implemented, what worked and what did not, and what implications this might have for the response to Covid-19 and its ongoing effects. 

11 May 2021                 Day One

2:00pm-2:10pm            Welcome, introductions

2:10pm-3:55pm            Session 1: Vaccination

Chair: Hannah Elizabeth, LSHTM

  • Gareth Millward, University of Warwick: ‘Confidence and Hesitancy: the Historical Construction of a "Problem"'
  • Sanjoy Bhattacharya, University of York: ‘Is Vaccine Hesitancy Anti-Science?: A Review of Resistance in International and Global Health Programmes’                                       
  • Dora Vargha, University of Exeter: ‘The End and What Comes After: Understanding Epidemic Temporalities’

3:55pm-4:15pm            Break

4:15pm-6:00pm            Session 2: Beyond the Pandemic – Mental & Emotional Health

 Chair: Janet Weston, LSHTM

  • Matt Smith, University of Strathclyde: ‘Peace of Mind in Pandemic Times: Universal Basic Income’s Potential to Improve Mental Health’
  • Agnes Arnold-Forster, McGill University:  ‘The NHS Workforce and Emotional Health: Past, Present, and Future?’
  • Fred Cooper, University of Exeter: ‘Days of Abandonment: History, Language, and the Politics of the Lonely Pandemic’


12 May 2021               Day Two

2:00pm-2:10pm            Welcome, introductions


2:10pm-3:55pm            Session 3: Global policy responses

 Chair: Philip Murphy, Institute of Historical Research

  • Marcos Cueto & Gabriel Lopes, Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro: ‘“Mismanagement:" and "Necropolitics" in the first year of the Pandemic in Brazil’
  • Anne-Emanuelle Birn, University of Toronto: ‘Pandemic (history) fatigue: which/whose histories matter for global health policy players’ 
  • Vivek Neelakantan, University of Sydney: ‘Framing COVID-19 in India: Medicine within Borders’

3:55pm-4:15pm            Break


4:15pm-6:00pm            Session 4: Beyond the Pandemic – Economy & Society

Chair: Virginia Berridge, LSHTM

  • Jenny Crane, University of Oxford: ‘I Worry Every day That I am Going to get Covid 19 and Give it to my Mum': Changing Childhoods in the age of Covid’
  • Christos Lynteris & Jules Skotnes-Brown, University of St Andrews: ‘Sylvatic Covid Reservoirs? A Warning From History’
  • Simon SzreterHilary Cooper, University of Cambridge: 'Wanting: a Strategy for Preventing Community Transmission of Infection in the Austerity State'

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14:00 pm - 18:00 pm

Online-via Zoom
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