Cities and countries engulfed by panic and death, desperate for vaccines but fearful of what inoculation may bring. This is what the world has just gone through with Covid-19, and it has happened before.
On May 19 bestselling author, historian and broadcaster Simon Schama will be discussing Foreign Bodies, his new epic history of vulnerable humanity caught between the terror of contagion and the ingenuity of science. In this live broadcast from the British Library, Schama will take us back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when smallpox struck London, cholera hit Paris, and plague came to India. And through scenes of terror, suffering and hope – in hospitals and prisons, palaces and slums – he will introduce us to an unforgettable cast of characters: a philosopher-playwright burning up with smallpox in a country chateau, a vaccinating doctor paying house calls in Halifax, and the incredible story of an unsung hero, Waldemar Haffkine, a gun-toting Jewish student in Odesa turned microbiologist at the Pasteur Institute. Hailed in England as ‘the saviour of mankind’ for vaccinating millions against cholera and bubonic plague in British India, he was at the same time cold-shouldered by the medical establishment of the Raj.
Schama will be on stage with writer and broadcaster Kavita Puri. Join us for a conversation that will cross borders between East and West, Asia and Europe, the worlds of rich and poor, politics and science.
Book bundles include one ticket for the online debate, plus a paperback copy of Foreign Bodies: Pandemics, Vaccines and the Health of Nations by Simon Schama with free UK P&P. Books will be posted within 1-2 weeks of the event finishing. Click here to purchase a book bundle.