History of Science

The National History Center’s Congressional Briefing on the Ebola Epidemic

What can historians contribute to the policy debate about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa? Quite a lot, it turns out. On November 17, the National History Center sponsored a congressional briefing titled “Historical Perspectives on the Ebola Epidemic and the African Health Crisis.” Three distinguished historians of medicine in Africa—Randall Packard of Johns Hopkins University, Gregg Mitman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Julie Livingston of NYU and Rutgers University—spoke at the briefing. They did what historians do best—historicize and contextualize a subject.