Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

2022 Ben Haneman Lecture

Professor Warwick Anderson “Virus on the march? Military model and metaphor in the COVID-19 pandemic”

Professor Warwick Anderson FRSN FAHA FASSA FAHMS

Professor of History
University of Sydney

Date: Thursday, 11 August 2022, 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm AEST 
Venue: Friends Room, Mitchell Building, State Library of NSW, 1 Shakespeare Place, Sydney
Registration:  Registration through Eventbrite is required
Entry: Friends of the Library, $20; ANZSHM members $20; Non-members, $25
All are welcome

The 2022 Ben Haneman Memorial Lecture by Professor Warwick Anderson is presented by the State Library of NSW Foundation and the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine.

What should a medical historian say when a general calls, asking for advice on a vaccine rollout during the pandemic?

Summary:  What should a medical historian say when a general calls, asking for advice on a vaccine rollout during the pandemic? For generations, we have heard warnings of the dangers of facile resort to war metaphors in dealing with epidemic disease. But what if public health originally derived from military models, from martial modes of defence against adversaries? What if militarisation is just business as usual? Increasingly, our response to modern crises, whether bushfires, floods, or pandemics, involves calling in the military. But the military metaphors and models that guide our interventions have varied over time and place. Some have worked better than others. Some have been less coercive than others. Medical historians thus can help counsel a sensitive general in search of the lessons of public health’s pasts.

Warwick Anderson MD PhD White is  the Janet Dora Hine Professor of Politics, Governance and Ethics at the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, and an honorary professor in the School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. A leading historian of medicine and biology, his many publications have won major national and international awards. He established health social science programs at Melbourne, California and Wisconsin, and was visiting professor at Harvard, Princeton, Manchester and Duke. He is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Guggenheim Fellow

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