Forum Invitation

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The National History Center, the American Historical Association, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the 4-VA Consortium
cordially invite you to a research forum entitled “Microscopic Foes of Mankind”:
Understanding Tuberculosis in American History.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 9:00-11:45 am
Wilson Center, Washington DC, 4th Floor Conference Room

This research forum explores the impact of tuberculosis on American lives and communities in the late nineteenth century. A team of undergraduate researchers from Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, and George Mason University are applying research techniques from the humanities, social sciences, and data analytics to understand the significance of tuberculosis, which was the single greatest cause of death in this historical period. The research forum will feature presentations by the students followed by commentary from scholarly experts in medical history and historical memory. The student researchers and the scholars on the panel will engage contemporary questions about the role of history in shaping attitudes towards disease, the value of historical scholarship for integrating narratives and data into an interpretive approach, and the importance of historical perspectives for developing effective public health policies. More information about the history of tuberculosis research project is available here, or by contacting project director, Tom Ewing, at

Research Team:
Tom Ewing, Virginia Tech, Project Director
Ian Criman, George Mason University
Courtney Howell, Virginia Tech
Victoria Irvine, University of Virginia
Jay Pandya, Virginia Tech
Scott Saunders, George Mason University
Rachel Snyder, Virginia Tech
Sarah Tran, University of Virginia
Luis Villavicencio, Virginia Tech

Panel of Scholars:
Nancy Tomes, Stony Brook University
Katherine Ott, Smithsonian Museum of American History
Alison Landsberg, George Mason University
Jeffrey Reznick, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine

Viewers interested in learning more about this project can see the results of work done by Virginia Tech students who completed a history project on tuberculosis in Virginia in the spring 2015 semester: individual narratives on the scrolling display, Telling Victims’ Stories, the poster exhibit which was displayed in public libraries and museums, and postings on Circulating Now, from the U S National Library of Medicine.

Please RSVP to Rachel Van Bokkem at

Sponsored by the National History Center, the American Historical Association, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the 4-VA Partners: Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, and George Mason University