Dot’s Reading Room: How Prior Pandemics Triggered Massive Societal Shifts

Dot’s Reading Room

It’s October 1 and time for a “good read” recommendation. This article by Andrew Latham is worth your attention.

“How three prior pandemics triggered massive societal shifts,” by Andrew Latham, Professor of Political Science at Macalester College.

Professor Latham’s article appears in The Conversation, a compendium of interesting articles gathered from around the world. He writes, “Societies and cultures that seem ossified and entrenched can be completely upended by pandemics, which create openings for conquest, innovation and social change.”

And we counter with, “Who would have thought, a few months ago, that Covid-19 would bring about such massive shifts in the way we work, educate our kids, and generally live our daily lives.”

Latham looks back at three major pandemics, beginning with the Antonine plague (A.D. 165  to 262) and the plague of Justinian (A.D. 542-A.D. 755) that ravaged the Roman Empire, and finally the plague we call The Black Death, which broke out in 1347 and killed from a third to a half of the total European population. Professor Latham outlines the major societal changes that occurred following these plagues, which raises the question, “how will our society be different once the pandemic is tamped down.”

Here’s the link to Professor Latham’s article:

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