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WHaLI 2020 | Pandemics and Power in World History & Literature

November 21,
December 5 & 12

Three-Day Workshop for History, Social Studies & E.L.A. Teachers

Module 1
Released November 21

Module 2
Released December 5

Live Video-Conference
December 12
9:30 AM–2 PM

$50 Registration Fee
Refundable upon
completion of modules

SCECHs available

Registration Deadline
November 11, 2020

Register at

For questions

“Infectious disease,” historian William H. McNeill asserted, “which antedated the emergence of humankind will last as long as humanity itself, and will surely remain, as it has been hitherto, one of the fundamental parameters and determinants of human history.” The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic confirms McNeill’s assertion, while also reminding us that human understanding of pandemic disease is historically contingent. Ancient scholars argued that “plague” emanated naturally from the gods for mysterious reasons to test human will. Later scholars might also blame disease on human causes, whereby religious and ethnic minorities, the poor, or perceived enemies of society could be viewed to be spreading or perpetuating disease. Regardless of origin and cause, humanity’s encounter with disease has also been, and will continue to be, shaped by political, social, cultural and economic power. Given how important pandemics have been in world history, it is not surprising that we have a rich historical and literary heritage capturing how pandemics have affected peoples, communities, and the world.

The World History and Literature Initiative’s (WHaLI’s) three-day conference for secondary teachers focuses on these issues, using examples drawn from different historical times and areas of the world. The symposium also illuminates challenges students face in learning such content, explores ways teachers might meet those challenges, and provides participants with relevant resources that can be used in the classroom. 

WHaLI 2020 will be offered over three days including asynchronous lessons on November 21 and December 5. Participants will join a live workshop session on December 12 from 10 AM to 2 PM EST. Additional details will be emailed to participants in early November.

Sponsors: University of Michigan International Institute, School of Education, & Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. This event is funded in part by Title VI NRC grants from the U.S. Department of Education.


Pedagogical Workshop, Darin Stockdill, Ph.D. U-M CEDER

Video presentation produced by Darin Stockdill, Ph.D. U-M CEDER

Do not reproduce the video without the expressed written consent of the author.

Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Latin America: History of Public Health, Disease, and the Panama Canal Zone

Center for South Asian Studies
The Spanish Flu Outbreak in India (1918-1919)

Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies
The 1883 Cholera Outbreak in British-occupied Egypt

East Asia National Resource Center/Center for Japanese Studies
Zainichi Koreans, Race, and Racial Injustice in Modern Japan

Center for Southeast Asian Studies
History of Pandemics and Social Change in Southeast Asia