History of Now: Plagues and Pandemic Edition
A Free Webinar Course from MIT History
Story: MIT History opens a course to the public via a free, live webinar format
In the spring of 2020, as people all over the world confronted the daily reality of living through the Covid-19 pandemic, many wondered how previous generations of humans navigated similar crises. At MIT, an interdisciplinary team of humanistic faculty decided to explore this question in a course that broke ground as a live, free MIT class, held in an open public webinar format so that anyone who wanted to attend could do so, from anywhere in the world.
As the course began, hundreds of people from around the world responded to the opportunity and joined students in 21H.000, the "History of Now: Plagues and Pandemics edition." In hour-long, weekly sessions, they heard experts explain the origins and ramifications of a wide range of devastating pandemics — from the Black Death, which killed as many as 200 million people during the Middle Ages, to the 1918 flu epidemic, which had a death toll of roughly 50 million people, as well as many lesser-known plagues.