Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Every scourge needs a scapegoat...

I saw this essay article in the Times and thought it was a good paradigm for our class to keep in mind when studying smallpox.

Finding a Scapegoat When Epidemics Strike

Even though the author specifically addresses the black death, it is interesting to think about how historical and more recent epidemics all employ this scapegoat mentality. You might notice that the article cites one of your course readings, "Plagues and People."

A few questions for you to ponder:
  • What does it say about human nature, if anything, that the predominant society tends to assign blame to a group of vulnerable people? Is this some sort of mental coping mechanism? Can this pattern ever be broken?
  • Who has been the scapegoat during pox outbreaks, and how does this relate to cultural/historical "treatments" for pox?
Lauren aka Ebolagirl

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