Eric Chapdelaine
Student at Northeastern University Studying Computer Science.


HIST1215 Origins of Today

Lecture 1 - Introduction


Microsoft Teams

Office Hours

Why are we in this class?

We can’t understand where we are today without understanding the past (with global pandemics). How can the past tell us about how to respond to the present?



COVID-19 Archive Project


Practice Run - 10% of Grade (due Sept. 20 at 9PM)

Final Podcast - 25% of Grade


What makes a good discussion?

What did you find interesting about the readings?

1st Breakout Room Exercise

For breakout session 1: Frank Snowden indicated in his interview that pandemics often change the cultural landscape, especially in terms of art and religion. Give some examples of this from the past. Now think about the present: how has the current pandemic affected art, culture, sports, family life?

Response: By seeing a pandemic as a window into the society that it lives in, we can see our values through this pandemic. Because America is pushing for the reopening of sports, we can see that sports are a huge part of our culture. We also value the health and lives of celebrities before the rest of the population. People didn’t seem to care about the lives that COVID affected until Tom Hanks was confirmed to have it.

Lost Connection for 2nd Breakout Room

3rd Breakout Room

Prompt: How will Covid-19 affect public policy and personal behavior in the future? How will we be different after this? Will we go back to the way we were? Why or why not?


Life from the Perspective of a Microbe

Discussion on Biology of Disease

What factors influence whether or not a virus can become deadly in humans?

What conditions are needed to viruses to spread effectively among humans? Have these conditions alwasy existed? If not, when did they begin to exist?

These conditions haven’t always been around. The density of people increase dramatically after hunter gatherers.

Discussion on Historical Importance of Microbes

Discuss whether or not microbes can be considered historical actors? Defend your answers.

They drastically change the environment, but they have no agency

Lecture 4 - Nathan Wolfe’s Thoughts on Precautions on Pandemics

COVID-19 Interview: Both people should upload their own document. Just upload the one where you are asking the questions.

Question: What was the point of Nathan Wolfe’s Ted Talk? Who is he? How does it relate to what we’re dealing with today?

Breakout Room:

What, according to Wolfe, do we need to do in order to protect ourselves from the next pandemic?

How likely are we to do these things?

Wet Market and Wild Animal Trade

While it would limit the contact between animals and huamsn, it wouldn’t be feasible. First of all, people don’t listen to regulations. And food insecurity is a huge problem and we can’t get rid of people’s right to get their own food.

Lecture 5 - Intro to Bubonic Plague

HW: No voicethread, just a regular discussion post for tomorrow

So what what have we discussed in the course:

Bubonic Plague

Breakout Rooms


Slideshow - Bubonic Plague

An Animal Disease

Plague Bacterium and Vector

Spread of Plague

“For the black rat, the Mediterranean was not a barrier but a highway” - Snowden

Plague Presentation

Incubation between 1 day to 1 week

Pneumonic Plague

Doctors would wear the long-nosed masks to hold herbs so they didn’t have to smell the dead bodies

Breakout Room on modern day outbreak of the plague

This weekend’s HW (due Sunday):

Nature Article

Group Discussion: How did people react to the plague?


The Renaissance


Plague and the Renaissance

What was the Renaissance?



Is it possible that the plague led to the Renaissance?

Group Discussion

Questioned Authority

How Can the Plague Affect Society?

Lecture 7 - Debate About Government Authority During a Pandemic

HW: Audacity for the first podcast

NOTE: Call your professors either ‘Dr.’ or ‘Professor’

How did People React to the Plague?

People didn’t know where the plague came from but they knew it came from the sea

Were These Effective?



Harsh Measures are Good

Harsh Measures are Bad

It’s a question of greater good vs. individual rights

Lecture 8 - Muslims and the Plague

Trump has COVID-19

Reaction to the Plague

Muslim World

Five Pillars of Islam:

Breakout Rooms




Are these reactions because of human nature? Or can they be mitigated through society?

Anti-Semitism in the Midevil Times

Targeting Asian-Americans During COVID-19

First podcast due October 25th

Spend 8-10 hours per week on each class at Northeastern (excluding class time)

Breakout Rooms on Woodrow Wilson’s Case of the Spanish Flu



Background to the Plague in India

Indian Society and Culture Ancient

British Enter India

Indian Army in 1857

Populations in India Around 1880-1900

Caste System

The word ‘Outcast’ came from those who didn’t have a caste

Plague Arrives, 1896

India Was Very Diverse

Breakout Rooms - What are the Takeaways from this Unit?


Takeaways from the Bubonic Plague


HIV Criminalization







Almost halfway through the semester

Different assignment for this Sunday

1720-1721 (major smallpox epidemic)

There is also a Podcast Quiz due Thursday

Breakout Rooms


Smallpox in the Americas


1492 Europeans

The only disease that was in America that wasn’t in Europe was syphillis

Most disease crossed over from animals to humans


Breakout Rooms



Breakout Rooms


New England and Smallpox

King Phillips War

Why are we learning about this?

Breakout Rooms


We are meeting on Teams on Friday

Podcast on Smallpox


Breakout Rooms


DPT Vaccine

Breakout Rooms


How was the podcast project?

Only one discussion post next week!

Breakout Rooms



What is Cholera

John Snow

1885 - first cholera vaccine


John Snow:

Breakout Rooms: John Snow Archive


Breakout Rooms: Fasting and Prayer

Report on Boston epidemic in 1849:,recorded%20deaths%20in%20the%20city.


Assignment for the Weekend

Breakout Rooms: What would happen if either canidate wins the election?

How was the assignment that was to compare past Boston slums with where they are currently?

Breakout Rooms: Harriet Beecher Stowe

India and Pandemics

Takeaways from Cholera

COVID Cases are on the rise

Influenza 1918

What is Influenza

Indian Soldiers en Route to France, 1918

How Did 1918 Influenza Kill?

Regulating Influenza

Can we compare influenza and COVID-19?