ABOUT THE EPISODE

How can we see past monolithic depictions of nations and understand the underlying differences within national borders that are shaped by demographics, geography, and historical experiences? What can we learn from the Great Sea Islands Storm of 1893 and a bubonic plague outbreak in the 19th century about how local politics and racial animus can shape responses to disaster? Dr. Caroline Grego, an assistant professor at the Queens University of Charlotte, and Dr. Tiago Saraiva, an associate professor of History at Drexel University, both discuss the links between disaster histories, the histories of racialized politics, and our current experience with COVID-19. Dr. Grego talks about her research on the Great Sea Islands Storm of 1893, how White Supremacists used the hurricane to disrupt Black political power in Jim Crow South Carolina. She also discusses how worries about epidemic disease in the wake of the hurricane connects to racial disparities in COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Dr. Saraiva talks about his own research on the 19th-century bubonic plague outbreak that spread from mainland China, highlighting the politics of covering up epidemics in various cities, the rise of the laboratory, and the politics of race around the plague that affected Chinese-Americans. He also discusses the connections between global capitalism, food production, and the history of pandemics. For further reading: “COVID-19 Reveals a Long History of Health Inequities affecting African Americans” “The Black Plague” “Why Coronavirus is Killing African-Americans More Than Others” Fascist Pigs: Technoscientific Organisms and the History of Fascism

TRANSCRIPT

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