“A Historian’s Perspective on the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic” will be the topic at the next free MDI Science Cafe from 5-6 p.m. on Monday, March 8 online via Zoom presented by the MDI Biological Laboratory, 159 Old Bar Harbor Road.

“A Historian’s Perspective on the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic” will be presented by James A. Schafer, Jr., Ph.D.

In this short presentation, Professor Schafer will place the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in historical context. At a fundamental level, the biology of pathogens, vectors, and hosts does not fully explain the complex causes and effects of epidemics. Pre-existing social, political and economic conditions shape who is at greatest risk of exposure, infection, severe illness, disability and death. Likewise, epidemics and our responses to them affect social relations, political institutions, and economic vitality in the short-term, and often in the long-term as well. Never has this been clearer than during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Schafer is an associate professor of History at the University of Houston. His research examines the social, political, and economic history of American medicine. His first book “The Business of Private Medical Practice: Doctors, Specialization, and Urban Change in Philadelphia, 1900-1940” was published by Rutgers University Press in 2014, as part of the series “Critical Issues in Health and Medicine.” His next book project will examine the mobilization of American doctors and nurses for the First World War.

Schafer teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on American history, the history of medicine and the history of epidemics. In 2017, he was a recipient of a University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award. He is a participant, along with other members of his department, in the American Historical Association’s ongoing “History Gateways” initiative, which is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in partnership with the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. The multi-year initiative, taking place at eleven institutions around the United States, is committed to “an evaluation and substantial revision of introductory college-level courses to better serve students from all backgrounds and align more effectively with the future needs of a complex society.”

Our live online Zoom presentations will be recorded and uploaded for those who cannot make the live session. Please note, when Zoom records, it captures the audience as well as the presenter. If you do not wish to be recorded, please turn off your video camera. Audio will still be available.

MDI Science Cafés are offered in fulfillment of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s mission to promote scientific literacy and increase public engagement with science. The popular events offer a chance to hear directly from speakers about trends in science.

We ask attendees to please pre-register online so that we can send you the link to the online presentation, https://mdibl.org/event/mdi-science-cafe-2021-03-8/.