Earlier this summer, Dr Michael Bresalier organised and chaired a virtual roundtable with the Society for the Social History of Medicine on the role of historians and history in pandemic policies and policy-making.
The roundtable was organised to address a paradoxical issue: while academic historians have been called upon to provide all manner of perspectives on Covid-19, they have played a markedly limited role in the discussion, development and assessment of policy-strategies at all levels – national, international, and multilateral. The roundtable brought together four leading historians of medicine and public health to reflect on this paradox and to consider ways to address it.
Professor Virginia Berridge (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya (York University), Dr. Mark Honigsbaum (City University of London) and Professor Esyllt Jones (University of Manitoba), along with over 75 participants, shared views on and discussed: why historical perspectives/research have played so little a role in policy responses to the pandemic? What might have been done differently if they had? In what ways can or have historical perspectives and research become part of policy-making agendas?
The Roundtable can be viewed on the SSHM Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bqy33E4OZHg
Dr. Bresalier is planning to re-convene the roundtable at the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Society for the Social History of Medicine, which he and colleagues in the Medical Humanities Research Centre will be hosting at Swansea University, 29 June-2 July 2022.