The concluding lecture takes the example of HIV/AIDS and discusses how reactions to the epidemic mirrored those found in the social and cultural perception of earlier epidemics. As in earlier epidemics, sufferers have been ostracized, persecuted or blamed for their own misfortune. In South Africa the government of Thabn Mbeki dismissed AIDS as an ideological construct of neo-colonialism building on racist stereotypes of Africans as sexually irresponsible, with disastrous consequences. HIV/AIDS has spread rapidly through modern means of communication, such as air travel, just as cholera was spread by traffic on railways and steamships. Future epidemics may spread even more rapidly, and the series concludes by asking what, if anything, can be done to prevent them.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:
Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There are currently nearly 1,500 lectures free to access or download from the website.
Professor Sir Richard J. Evans FBA
Professor Richard J. Evans FBA is Regius
Professor of Modern History and President of Wolfson College at the University
has lectured extensively all over the world at a variety of literary festivals
and events, is widely published and is a frequent contributor to the broadcast
media and the press.
He has been Editor of theJournal
of Contemporary Historysince
1998 and a judge of the Wolfson Literary Award for History since 1993.
His most recent publication was the third volume of his monumental large-scale
history of the Third Reich,The Third Reich at War, which was
published in 2008.
Evans's area of research interest lies predominantly in German history,
especially social and cultural history, since the mid-nineteenth century.
He has worked on movements of emancipation and liberation, including the
feminist movement and the labour movement, on social inequality in the urban
environment, and on the social history of death and disease. His work on
the history of crime has involved examining literary discourses and their
interaction with social models of deviance, both those articulated by the
authorities and those lived by deviants themselves. Since acting as
principal expert witness in the David Irving libel trial before the High Court
in London in 2000, his work has dealt with Holocaust denial and the clash of
epistemologies when history enters the courtroom.