ASM Master Class via Zoom: A Pestilence so Great and Universal: Disease and the Structures of Early Mexican History

ASM Master Class via Zoom: A Pestilence so Great and Universal: Disease and the Structures of Early Mexican History

Monday, July 13, 2020


July 13-17, 2020
Daily, 9:30 a.m. (Arizona time) via Zoom
taught by Dr. Michael M. Brescia, Curator of Ethnohistory and affiliated Professor of History and Law

Amid the lethal toll of Covid-19 and the accompanying global economic downturn, historians are revisiting the role of diseases in world history and their larger impact on culture and society. Even a cursory glance at Mexican history tells us that Mexico is no stranger to the debilitating effects of disease on individuals, families, and communities, not to mention an epidemic's capability to transform the political, economic, and social institutions that fashioned daily life in the deep past. In search of clues to help us better grasp what has been unfolding around us today, ASM historian Michael Brescia will examine the multiple ways in which diseases defined the broader contours of early Mexican history, from Pre-Columbian times to Spanish conquest and colonization.

July 13, Session 1
"From Cocoliztli to the Coronavirus: Toward an Understanding of Disease in Mexican History," Dr. Brescia establishes the Master Class's conceptual framework and identifies the challenges that historians face when they interrogate the evidence of historical diseases. 70 min plus Q&A

July 14, Session 2
"Written with Soft Chalk: Disease and Population Patterns in Pre-Columbian Mexico," examines the interdisciplinary scope of research into Mexican antiquity and discusses the varieties of the Mesoamerican experience before the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century. 70 min plus Q&A

July 15, Session 3
"A Disease of the Heart: The Spanish Conquest of Mexico," Dr. Brescia evaluates Old World diseases as a crucial factor in Hernán Cortés's conquest of Moctezuma's Aztec confederation. 70 min plus Q&A

July 16, Session 4
"Remote Beyond Compare: The Long Haul of Colonial Epidemics," participants will learn about the regional dimensions of disease in colonial Mexico, from the arid stretches of its far northern frontier to the humid zones located in the southern reaches. 70 min plus Q&A

July 17, Session 5
"Quarantines, Vaccines, and How to Have a Good Death in Late Colonial Mexico," Dr. Brescia explores the last decades of Spanish colonialism at the intersection of medicine and religiosity. 70 min plus Q&A

$100 ASM members ($50 tax deductible)
$150 non members ($100 tax deductible) 
Click here to register

Image: 16th century Aztec drawing of smallpox victims. Public domain.

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