A comparative, interdisciplinary inquiry, conceived and led by Christian Cwik and Stefan Rabitsch (Center for Inter-American Studies, University of Graz) analyzes historical measures in containing epidemics, whilst investigating the post-pandemic crisis management of plague-, smallpox-, and Influenza outbreaks during the 17th and 18th century, as well as the Spanish Flu in the 20th century. Our examination of past pandemics includes but is not limited to the causes of epidemic events, their severity and patterns of collateral impact, containment measures and their attendant public health policies, expert discourses competing for thought leadership, and, ultimately, the strategies to "reboot the system". Representative examples drawn from the town and city histories of Graz, Sevilla, Bridgetown, and Boston will provide critical insights into the historical, spatial, political, economic, social and cultural dynamics that shaped epidemic crises. The insights gained from such a historically driven inquiry will serve to ascertain suitable recovery strategies with a view to developing recommendations for combatting the ongoing Corona crisis.
Smallpox, Plague and Influenza – pandemics are nothing new. The historian Christian Cwik and his team research disease outbreaks in the 17th and 18th century. Case studies demonstrate that the battle against them has often led to negligence in other areas. Crises as a result have amplified in severity or length.
Epidemics have been a constant companion of humans throughout history. They are part of normality, neither new, nor abnormal. Illnesses caused by them can be traced back to ancient times, with Influenza, Measles and Smallpox being examples. Cases of the smallpox can be traced back to as early as 12.000 BCE. Humankind has withstood epidemics or pandemics amid worse conditions than the current.
Christian Cwik, Stefan Rabitsch and Mark Stieger, in a study at the Center for Inter-American Studies at the University of Graz, analyse the measures taken during pandemic outbreaks in Graz, Bridgetown (Barbados) and Boston in the 17th and 18th century.