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Conference: Visual Representations of the Third Plague

Thur 12 July, 2pm & Fri 13 - Sat 14 July, 9:30am
Free (Ticketed)
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The fifth and final conference of the Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic project will examine the epistemology, politics, ethics and aesthetics of epidemic images. Focused on images, imaginations and imaginaries of plague throughout the centuries, the conference also engages scholars working on the broader fields of medical anthropology, medical history and visual studies so as to examine the wider context and consequences of imaging and imagining plague in human history.


  • To what extent is our perception of epidemics driven by modes, tropes and conventions of visualisation?
  • What is the relation between images of plague and its imagination in different social and cultural contexts?
  • How has the image of plague shifted through the centuries, and what is the impact of this aesthetic and affective transformation on epidemic response?
  • What is the role of plague images in the formation and negotiation of scientific knowledge?
  • Do religious, lay and scientific images of plague forge a common field of vision as relates to epidemic catastrophe and threat?
  • What are the ethical challenges and constraints of epidemic visualisation?
  • To what extent does colonial medical visual culture continue to inform our knowledge and imagination of epidemics?
  • What is the relation between the imagination of plague in early modern and colonial contexts and contemporary pandemic imaginaries?
  • How might the examination of the visual record of plague transform historical analysis of the disease?
  • What has been the role of epidemic photography in establishing the notion of the pandemic in both scientific and lay publics?


Addressing these questions the papers and round-tables of this conference will forge new historical and anthropological understandings of epidemic disease and their impact on human societies.


To see the conference programme, please click here