A Course on Plagues Hits Home


The first time Steven Goodreau taught his “Plagues and Peoples” course in the UW Department of Anthropology, the Ebola virus had just hit the news. The second time, the Zika virus appeared. When he offered the course again last quarter, there seemed to be no viral crises on the horizon.

“I wondered what was going to happen this time,” recalls Goodreau, professor of anthropology. “Before the quarter started, I joked that maybe I shouldn’t teach the class.”

“The study of a real-world phenomenon like an epidemic needs... biology, math, and history,” says Steven Goodreau, above, who includes all three in his course. “They all interact in much more interesting and subtle ways than might immediately be...

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