march, 2021

11mar5:30 pm6:30 pmGerms at Bay with Charles Vidich5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Event Details

The Portsmouth Athenaeum, in partnership with the Membership Libraries Group presents

Germs at Bay: Politics, Public Health, and American Quarantine with Charles Vidich, in conversation with Elizabeth Howard

This event is free for members of Mechanics’ Hall; email for ticketing information. 

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While the current global pandemic has brought the topic of quarantine front and center, the practice of quarantine—and resistance to it—has a long and often contentious history in the United States, which Charles Vidich tracks and explores in his riveting new book, Germs at Bay: Politics, Public Health, and American Quarantine.

The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 is only one of more than 87 new or emerging pathogens discovered since 1980 that have posed a risk to public health. While many may consider quarantine an antiquated practice, in reality it is often one of the only defenses against new and dangerous communicable diseases. Tracing the United States’ quarantine practices through the colonial, postcolonial, and modern eras, Germs at Bay provides an eye-opening look at how quarantine has worked despite routine dismissal of its value.

Charles Vidich is the author of Germs at Bay: Politics, Public Health and American Quarantine. He is a consultant and advisor on public health and bioterrorism issues and was appointed a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, working for 10 years on national quarantine policy. He has numerous publications on occupational and environmental health and served as incident commander for the U.S. Postal Service’s national anthrax response in 2001–2002. He holds SM and MCP degrees from Harvard and has received numerous White House, EPA, and Postal Service awards for his environmental and anthrax response work. He serves on the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, appointed by the Speaker of the House.

Elizabeth Howard is an author, journalist and creative director. Her books include Queen Anne’s Lace and Wild Blackberry Pie (Thornwillow Press, 2011), A Day with Bonefish Joe (David R. Godine, 2015), Ned O’Gorman: A Glance Back (Easton Studio Press, 2016) and The Book(s), Ned O’Gorman Artist Books (Publication Studio, 2017). She is the writer in residence for the Randall’s Island Park Alliance in New York City and a columnist for the Laconia Daily Sun in Laconia, New Hampshire.


(Thursday) 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

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