Colgate University

First-Year Course Offerings — Fall 2022

RELG 252   Religion, Plagues, Pandemics
DistributionHuman Thought and Expression
Core AreaNone

Plagues, pandemics, and epidemics have visited fear, chaos, and death upon global communities and nations for millennia. Catastrophes like the Bubonic Plague of 14th century Europe (1348-50), plagues in the Ottoman capital (1522-921), early modern Africa (1494-1554), China (1770/71), and the 1918 American Flu pandemic, among others, precipitated world-shattering disruptions that mandated rapid and comprehensive recalibrations of social constructions of normalcy, social identity, and socio-cultural cohesion. The course identifies religion as a requisite multidimensional construct situated at the intersection of interdisciplinary theorizing and explanatory models regarding the etiologies of, and responses to, death-dealing disease and contagion. Religious understandings of calamitous plagues, pandemics, and epidemics are juxtaposed with the rise of medical and scientific understandings of these maladies within discrete periods.