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Regular version of the site

190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel, Room 123

Phone:+7 (812)786-92-49 

Postal address: 
190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel

Department Head Adrian A. Selin
Academic Supervisor Evgeniy Anisimov
Book chapter
Medicine on Russian-Language Social Media

Vasilyev P., Karpova Y.

In bk.: The Rowman & Littlefield Handbook of Bioethics. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2022. Ch. 30. P. 350-360.

Working paper
Language and Cultural Contacts in the Russian-Nordic Borderlands: Change and Continuity

Vlakhov A., Deresh A., Mironova E. et al.

Linguistics. WP BRP. НИУ ВШЭ, 2021. No. 108.

Epidemiology, Medicine and Gender

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered by:
Department of History
Elective course
1 year, 3, 4 module


Course Syllabus


As the COVID-19 pandemic has recently reminded us, throughout history epidemics often revealed larger tensions, anxieties and hierarchies within the societies that experienced outbreaks of infectious disease. This graduate course sets out to map the history of epidemics and pandemics with the focus on the early modern and modern periods. Global in scope, it will stay sensitive to the particular regional and local contexts that often shaped how an epidemic played out in a particular area. The students will be introduced to different ways of approaching the history of epidemics as we examine the healthcare practice, public health politics, and the role of expert knowledge in the making and unmaking of a disease. Special emphasis will be put on the different ways in which the concepts of gender, class and race were (and, indeed, still are) evoked, instrumentalized and debated in the context of various healthcare emergencies. We will close the class with reflections on whether (and when) epidemics ever truly ‘end’ and debate the role of historical knowledge in the current crisis.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Students will understand the fundamental questions and methods of the history of epidemics.
  • Students will develop critical skills in assessing and using historical evidence in the current healthcare crisis.
  • Students will be prepared to detect the different ways in which the concepts of gender, class, and race have been evoked, instrumentalized, and debated in the context of various healthcare emergencies.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to read analytically academic literature for seminars, summarize it, highlight the main arguments, and critically evaluate them
  • Students will be able to discuss academic literature during a seminar and participate in a group discussion in English
  • Students will be able to analyze and compare the views of different authors on the same subject
  • Students will be able to create and deliver a persuasive presentation based on required readings and additional literature
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • The role of historical knowledge in the current crisis
    Introduction: How We Know What We Know Dispatches from a Pandemic: How it Actually Feels Conclusion: How Epidemics End
  • History of epidemics
    Environmental Aspects: How Epidemics Emerge Cultural History of Epidemics: The Language of Disease Social History of Epidemics: The Great Leveler? The Medical Response: Making Sense of Disease The Role of the State: Legislating and Enforcing Health
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Perusall
    For additional info on the grading algorithm, contact the instructor. All Perusall annotations and questions have to be submitted by the deadline (usually, 9am Moscow time on the day of the seminar). Late submissions will not be considered.
  • non-blocking In-class participation
    Participation in polls, quizzes, and other interactive activities (e.g., via Poll Everywhere or Kahoot) during both lectures and seminars is expected and will be graded.
  • non-blocking Presentation
    Usually, the presentation would be graded as a group project for which one grade is issued to all the participants. Time limit for the presentation is set at 20 minutes and can be extended for up to 40 minutes (this has to be negotiated with the instructor before the seminar!). Failure to observe the agreed-upon time limit will result in a 1 point penalty.
  • non-blocking Essay
    A student chooses one question out of three and produces a written answer (1-2 pages long). Failure to produce an essay that is at least 0,5 page long will result in an additional 1 point penalty. Failure to submit the essay by the agreed-upon deadline will result in an additional 1 point penalty for every day the essay is late.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.25 * Essay + 0.25 * In-class participation + 0.25 * Perusall + 0.25 * Presentation


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Omran, A. R. (2001). The epidemiologic transition. A theory of the Epidemiology of population change. 1971. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.F2382A6A

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Modern epidemiology, Rothman, K. J., 2008