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POSC 274: Covid-19 & Globalization

Professor Tun Myint - Fall 2023

Reference Resources & Guides

To ground your understanding of prior pandemics, these works will provide an overview to the disease, its spread, and the response. These works are particularly useful for providing you with key events in pandemic timelines as well as highlight the institutional actors and innovations used to contain the pandemic. 

Primary Sources

Finding primary source material about past pandemics can be challenging. In addition to the sources below, you should look to reference books and secondary scholarship for clues about what primary source materials you should be looking for: Pay attention to the organizations, institutions, and agencies that authors cite when they discuss a particular pandemic. 

General Sources

The list of general sources derive mostly from international health organizations (such as the WHO). Many of which are searchable archives of publications from these organizations, and they provide snapshots of develop pandemics -- they're spread, their mortality and morbidity information, and the ways in which institutions and nations were responding. 



Black Death (1334-1350)

WHO Historical Collection: Includes early works on epidemiology. 

Plague & Public Health in Renaissance Europe

Modern Plague (1860-1903)

Bubonic Plague: The First Pandemic: Online exhibit created by the Science Museum in London. Contains information about Black Death as well as Modern Plague (about halfway down the page).

Russian Flu (1889-1890)

"Transmissibility and Geographic Spread of the 1889 Influenza Pandemic"

CDC Stacks: Grippe -- "Grippe" is an older name for influenza. Narrow to the years around 1889 for relevant Public Health Reports. 

Spanish Flu (1918-1919)

Influenza Archive -- Digital Encyclopedia created by the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine

Asian Flu (1956-1958)

CDC Stacks: H2N2: Narrow to relevant years to find CDC reports on Asian Flu outbreak. 

Symposium on the Asian Influenza Epidemic, 1957: Article from The Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. Discusses transmission of Asian Flu in infected countries.

Hong Kong Flu (1968-1969)

CDC Stacks: Hong Kong Flu

50 Years of Influenza: Article reviewing "the emergence, progression, clinical course, etiology, epidemiology, and treatment of the 1968 pandemic."

Government Surveillance Report on 1968 Hong Kong Flu: (Note: link is for general google search; the report should be the third from the top in pdf form) Report from The National Communicable Disease Center. Contains information on the outbreaks from State Health Departments.

Ebola Outbreak (1976)

HIV/AIDS (1981-present)

ACT UP & the AIDS Crisis

SARS (2003)

CDC Stacks: SARS

Estimating the Global Economic Costs of SARS: Workshop presentation from Learning from SARS: Preparing for the Next Disease Outbreak at the Institute of Medicine.

Revised US Surveillance Case Definition for SARS: CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from 2003. Also includes new case definition.

SARS 2004 Media and Alerts Archive: CDC archive containing press releases, MMWR updates, and WHO updates from 2003-2004.

Swine Flu (2009)

CDC Stacks: Swine Flu

NPI Implementation During the 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic 

Ebola (2014)

Cost of the Ebola Epidemic: CDC information on Ebola outbreak in 2014.


Film & Video

You can search the three databases below for videos about prior pandemics. You can also search Catalyst, selecting the Audio/Video tab. These are the sample search results for SARS

Individual titles: 


Media and Mainstream Coverage of Past Pandemics