Northwestern Events Calendar


LACS Faculty Colloquium: History in a Time of Epidemic: Some Lessons from Latin America (Paul Ramírez)

When: Tuesday, October 6, 2020
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Online
Webcast Link

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Linda Remaker  

Group: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


In light of the current COVID crisis, this presentation offers a historian’s reflections on the impact and significance of past epidemics. How did communities overcome outbreaks? Does the past have lessons for us now? In undertaking these inquiries, we will briefly consider the roles of medical science, religious communities, and history – or the act of storytelling.

Paul Ramírez is Associate Professor of History at Northwestern and Director of Graduate Studies for the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program. He is the Donald L. Saunders Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library for the 2020-2021 academic year. He is a specialist in the history of Mexico. He has published articles and book chapters on the coordination of response to disease epidemics, the cultural and religious aspects of medical technology, and the politics of reform in Bourbon Mexico.

His book Enlightened Immunity: Mexico's Experiments with Disease Prevention in the Age of Reason (Stanford University Press, 2018) examines the rituals, genres, and upheavals in medicine and politics that accompanied efforts to adopt preventive methods in rural Mexico. His second book project, tentatively titled "Salt of the Santos: A History of Devoted Work," explores the neglected religious associations involved in the harvest and consumption of salt in Mexico. His research has been supported by the Newberry Library, the Huntington Library, the University of California’s Institute for Mexico and the U.S. (UC MEXUS), Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study.

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