Contagion: infectious disease and society

Infectious diseases have affected humanity since our very beginnings, and the COVID-19 pandemic showed us that infectious diseases still play a major role in our lives today. Studying contagion can spotlight many questions about the world and society we live in. So, in this course, we’ll focus not only on the biological, medical and epidemiological facets of infectious diseases, but also on how we’ve dealt with contagion in the past and today, and how infectious diseases shape our society. We’ll look at infectious diseases through the lens of global health: we’ll be thinking about health inequities and what social and political factors contribute to them.
This interdisciplinary course is for everyone! Whether you’re drawn to medicine, are interested in society, policy, or history, this course will give you a new perspective on the tiny germs that are such a huge part of what it is to be human
Through the topic of infectious disease, we’ll tackle the big questions of what health even is, how we measure and study it, and why it even matters. We’ll look at some of these topics:
– Burden of disease and pathogenesis: what does it mean to be healthy or ill? What infectious diseases are out there and how do they spread? And can we measure this all?
– Prevention and treatment: from toilets to CRISPR. What are the frontiers of infectious disease? What’s antimicrobial resistance, why is it such a big deal, and what do we do now?
– Smallpox as a case study: humanity’s biggest achievement! How do we eradicate a plague and why have we only managed it once?
– Stigma, oppression, and resistance: when medicine causes harm. Life in the AIDS years – how did patients become activists and scientists fighting for their lives?
– Contagion and the environment: where do new pathogens come from, and how is climate change affecting the health of millions around the globe?

Jana Lohrova

Jana currently lives in Scotland where she climbs hills, hangs out at the beach, sings in pubs and is doing a PhD in Global Health Policy. She previously worked as a healthcare scientist for Scottish National Health Service (NHS). She got her BA in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health from Yale, where she was a Global Health Fellow. After a gap year with the epidemiology division of Connecticut Department of Public Health, she got her joint master’s degree with Yale School of Public Health in Epidemiology of Microbial Disease with a concentration in Global Health. Her general interests are in health equity, novel threats to health, intersection of health and climate change, and planetary health. She does all things folk, ranging from Irish step and set dancing to singing sea shanties, and loves to bake and knit.

Session D

Art Against the Mainstream

Štěpán Folget

Biological Psychiatry

Aleksa Petković

Categories of Political Science

Gosha Evlanov

Contagion: infectious disease and society

Jana Lohrova

Cross-cultural studies 101

Mwika Kiarie

Defending Human Rights

Mirek Crha

History from Liberty to Liberation

Emma Nabi-Bourgois


Soňa Feciskaninová

Neuronal Biophysics

Sara Banovska

Positive psychology

Laura Opletalová

Sound, music, and science

Sol Johansen

Surveillance capitalism

Vašek Šmatera

Sustainable design

Mariana Ochodková

Theory of General Relativity

Bohdan Glisevic