Making Meaning in a Pandemic – Special Summer Course

Reflections on COVID-19 Interdisciplinary Course

How do we make sense of a pandemic that has caused millions of deaths around the world? In this special summer course, Canisius faculty, alumni and guest presenters will explore the many ways humankind has responded to disease-related crises throughout history.

What: A collaborative learning opportunity to better understand challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic—and how we can respond with knowledge, empathy, faith and resilience. The class is fully digital with no live sessions.

Why:  An interdisciplinary approach—the hallmark of a liberal arts education—can provide richer perspectives on critical topics, including unprecedented public health disasters

How: A combination of PowerPoint and video presentations, recorded interviews with subject-matter experts, films, video chats and other online discussions, readings and access to an expanded reading list 

Topics will be organized into modules and will include:
  • The science of disease
  • Plagues and responses in the ancient world
  • Art and pandemics
  • Literature and pandemics
  • Animal-human relations during pandemics
  • Catholic and Jesuit responses to plagues 
  • Small pox and American history
  • Cholera in Puerto Rico during the 1800s
  • Pandemics through a feminist lens
  • State surveillance during a pandemic
  • Wearing masks and caring for others during a pandemic
  • Healthcare professionals on the front lines of COVID-19, featuring the on-the-job perspectives of several Canisius alumni
  • COVID-19 and marginalized communities
  • COVID-19 responses and social structure: a comparison between the United States and Canada

Participants are encouraged to interact with as many modules as they would like, whether that means one session or all of them.

This is a free, non-credit-bearing course.

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