3Qs at the U Ep. 1 with Science Sam and anthropologist Madeleine Mant | Summary and Q&A

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May 4, 2020
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University of Toronto
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3Qs at the U Ep. 1 with Science Sam and anthropologist Madeleine Mant

TL;DR

An anthropologist discusses the integration of history and theater to teach about infectious diseases, specifically focusing on the unique role of the plague doctor during the bubonic plague.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the anthropologist integrate costumes and theater into her classes?

The anthropologist used costumes, including the plague doctor, to illustrate individual experiences with diseases and help students connect emotionally to historical events.

Q: What was the purpose of the plague doctor's beak-shaped mask?

The beak-shaped mask was filled with fresh smelling herbs to protect the doctor from foul-smelling air, as it was believed that disease spread through bad smells in the 17th century.

Q: How does studying the past help us in the present pandemic?

Understanding past crises reminds us that societies have faced and overcome similar challenges before. It also highlights social inequalities and encourages collective action to address them.

Q: What parting advice does the anthropologist have for us?

The anthropologist emphasizes the importance of self-care during stressful times and urges individuals to journal their experiences, as future anthropologists and historians will rely on personal documents to understand the present.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The anthropologist combines her love for anthropology and theater to teach about infectious diseases and make history come alive for her students.

  • The plague doctor costume is based on historical personal protective equipment worn by healthcare workers during outbreaks of the bubonic plague.

  • Studying the past helps us learn from previous crises and understand the social impact of diseases like COVID-19.

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