Chasing the Plague in Edinburgh: Scientific and Literary Perspectives on Infectious Disease

As a city ravaged twice by the bubonic plague, Edinburgh represents the ideal location to explore how infectious disease has shaped and continues to shape culture, architecture, history, and identity. Students will spend three weeks in residency in Edinburgh discovering the city, gaining a first-hand understanding of its literary and scientific history, and occasionally traveling to nearby sites. Through a mixture of in-classroom lectures and reading discussions, site-specific activities around the city, and trips to related areas like Leith and Glasgow, students will gain a greater understanding of the impact infectious disease can have on a population and reflect on their own experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to engaging literarily with the plague, students will also be introduced to relevant topics in immunology and explore current research on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.