Day 1: Multidisciplinary Workshop - Endemicity: The Contours of Epidemics

Current efforts to ‘live with covid’ highlight the concept of endemicity: the transition from epidemic to endemic. But what does it mean for a disease to be endemic, and how is this defined, measured, and established? Although the category of ‘endemic’ is widely understood and powerfully applied, its meaning is shaped by context rather than by strict numbers. ‘Endemic’ can mean widespread, periodic, expected, unnoticed, normal – that is, the opposite of ‘epidemic’. How does the long-term, context of endemicity frame the immediate urgency of epidemics? How does the category of endemicity vary by region and culture? And how do other diseases, political priorities, economic pressures, and social tensions shape the parameters of endemicity (what an endemic disease is), and thus also shape the end contours of an epidemic?

This multidisciplinary workshop draws on a range of disciplinary and methodological insights to analyse the notion of endemic disease as well as the process of an epidemic’s end. As this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the social, political, and economic nature of epidemics, long-term and multidisciplinary views of disease and health are crucial. This workshop therefore encourages examples, case studies, and reasoning drawn from the humanities and social sciences, but welcomes all disciplinary analyses of the concept of endemic disease as well as the contours (ends and beginnings) of epidemics.

Programme: Thursday 29 June

14:00-15:30 Concepts and Themes I
Welcome: Claire Crignon, Erica Charters, Éric Pardoux

Guillaume Le Blanc (Université Paris Cité, Institut Universitaire de France) ‘What the Covid-19 epidemic does to health’

Sunetra Gupta (Oxford) & David J Robertson (Oxford) ‘Herd Immunity, Concept and History’

15:30-16:00 Tea and Coffee

16:00-18:00 Cases I

Christoph Gradmann (Oslo) ‘The Contested Epidemiology of East-African Tuberculosis, 1925-1935’

Lorenz Von Seidlen (Oxford) ‘The introduction, spread, and continuation of cholera transmission in Haiti: a case study in endemicity’

Vincent Marechal (Sorbonne) ‘OBEPINE: a French project to early detection and efficient monitoring of epidemics through wastewater analysis’

Speakers’ Dinner