Introducing Adjunct Professor Sarah Thomsen Vierra
HIST 298 Global Pandemics in History is an examination of global epidemics and pandemics in historical perspective, beginning with the infamous Black Death in Europe during the 14th century and ending with the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the late 20th century. The course will trace the development of pandemics from the first unexpected and often bewildering cases and early understandings of the sources and treatments to how the diseases influenced contemporary social relationships, cultural beliefs, and medical knowledge. In addition, the course will scrutinize how people’s ideas about disease shaped their responses to it, sometimes in ways that inhibited their efforts to successfully treat those affected. Through study of expert scholarship and historical firsthand accounts, the class will make connections between the pandemics of the past and the world we live in today.
Sarah Thomsen Vierra is a historian of modern Europe, and is particularly interested in immigrant community formation and how migration has shaped social, political and physical landscapes in the postwar period. Her book, Turkish Germans in the Federal Republic of Germany: Immigration, Space, and Belonging, 1961-1990, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018, and was a finalist for the Waterloo Centre for German Studies Book Prize. Professor Vierra has also published on West Berlin’s Turkish community, the influence of the Cold War on the guest worker program, and migration in modern German history. She teaches courses on a wide range of topics including transnational migration in the twentieth century, Muslim minorities in postwar Europe, and the history of global pandemics. In every course, Professor Vierra encourages her students to hone their skills of observation, analysis, and communication, which they can utilize both within the classroom and beyond.