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Past Event: In Time of Plague, 2020: COVID-19


Please join us for a two part webinar series entitled “In Time of Plague, 2020: COVID-19.” The webinar series is associated with the reissuing of our Summer 1988 Social Research issue, “In Time of Plague: The History and Consequences of Lethal Epidemic Diseases,” with new comments by experts addressing the current COVID-19.






Wednesday August 12, 2020


Ruth Macklin on reflecting on the AIDS crisis compared to the COVID-19 pandemic; is Distinguished University Professor Emerita, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her recent publications include “COVID-19: A View from New York,” Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, April 13, 2020; and “Allocating Medical Resources Fairly: The CSG Bioethics Guide,” Salúd Pública de México, June 9, 2020.

Gerald Oppenheimer on the response of clinicians to COVID-19 and AIDS; is (clinical) professor at the Mailman School, Columbia University. His current research focuses on the history and policy implications of cardiovascular and psychiatric epidemiology. His most recent article, with Ronald Bayer, “Is Moderate Drinking Protective against Heart Disease? The Science, Politics and History of a Conundrum,” appeared in the Milbank Quarterly in March 2020 (vol. 98).

David A. J. Richards on human rights and public health in the AIDS crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic; is a teacher of criminal law and constitutional law at NYU School of Law, He is the author of over 20 books and numerous articles, and has developed influential arguments on decriminalization and toleration as a key constitutional value.

William Foege on lessons learned from facing plagues; was the executive director of the Carter Center, worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is currently Professor Emeritus at Emory University. He worked in the refugee response for the ICRC during the Nigerian Civil War in the 1960’s, on smallpox eradication in Africa and India in the 1970s, and became director of CDC in 1977.

Moderator: Ron Bayer focuses his research on issues of social justice and ethical matters related to AIDS, tuberculosis, illicit drugs, and tobacco. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and has served on its committees dealing with AIDS, tuberculosis, vaccines, and the Ryan White Care Act. His articles have appeared in many journals.



Wednesday August 5, 2020

12:30 - 2:00pm

Mariano Aguirre on the unfair and unequal impact of COVID-19; is a policy analyst with expertise on the Middle East, Latin America, and US foreign policy. He is an Associate Fellow, Chatham House, Advisor of the Human Rights Institute, Deusto University and Fellow of the Latin American Security Network Friedrich Ebert Foundation. He was advisor of the UN Office of the Resident Coordinator in Colombia (2017–2019). His book, Salto al Vacío (2017), is about the crisis unfolding in the United States.

Mary Bassett on what AIDS and COVID-19 reveal about structural racism; is director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights and FXB professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights in the department of Social and Behavioral Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Previously, Dr. Bassett served for four years as commissioner of Health for New York City.

Ahmed Bawa on the unequal impact and COVID-19 in South Africa; is chief executive officer of Universities South Africa, an umbrella organization of South Africa’s 26 public universities. The focus of his recent writing has been on higher education matters, with specific reference to the relationship between universities and society, and science and society.

Teresa Ghilarducci on how economists have failed in the case of COVID-19 and the economic advantages of addressing inequity in the workplace, healthcare, and taxation; is a labor economist and expert in retirement security. She is the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Professor of Economics at The New School for Social Research and director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. Her most recent book is Rescuing Retirement: A Plan to Guarantee Retirement Security for All Americans. Previously, she taught at University of Notre Dame.

Moderator: Arien Mack (Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research)

Click on the link below for slides from the speakers


For information about the related issue of Social Research: An International Quarterly,




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