For this essay, I ask you to put the novel, Polio; An American Story, in conversation with both Rosenberg’s The Cholera Years and your

For this essay, I ask you to put the novel, Polio; An American Story, in conversation with both Rosenberg’s The Cholera Years and your

Histories of science and medicine often paint their subjects as stories of progress with humanity moving from darkness into a state of enlightenment. On one hand, the fight against polio certainly bears some resemblance, in that a frightening disease came to be understood and effectively conquered by modern technology. On the other hand, as Oshinsky shows, progress isnt always  the story of knowledge overcoming ignorance.

For this essay, I ask you to put the novel, Polio; An American Story, in conversation with both Rosenberg’s The Cholera Years and your own experience and/or observations of the covid-19 pandemic. In an essay of 700 words or so, address the following; First, how might these pandemics complicate the story of progress? Why might it be difficult to draw a straight line from cholera, through polio, to the coronavirus? Second, consider whether or not medical or technological progress can be understood in isolation from other contexts (legal, political, social, cultural, etc.) Finally, explain which public response to one of these diseases might be considered the best or strongest. In your explanation, be sure to offer a clear rationale as to why you think one set of responses is better than each of the other two.¬†

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