Eloquence and Eminence

Annual Emeritus Faculty Lecture Series

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Institute on Aging hosts this award-winning series of lectures by retired University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty known for their teaching excellence and scholarship. The series, initiated in 1993 by Dr. Emily Auerbach, is targeted to members of the community of all ages. The talks are free and open to the public.

Unrecognizable businessman making a speech in front of audience at conference hall

Past Lectures

Spring 2024: Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Topsy-Turvy History: Regulation and Individual Rights in Public Health

Talk by Judith W. Leavitt, Ph.D.
Ruth Bleier and Rupple Bascom Professor Emerita of History of Medicine, History of Science, Gender and Women’s Studies, and History

COVID-19 has brought public health issues and interventions into the news and into our lives. The history of public health in the 19th and 20th century reveals a trajectory of increasing power and authority of health departments to protect community health. A deep-dive into Milwaukee, Wisconsin, however, uncovers interruptions in the usual trajectory and provides insight into current dissention over masks and vaccinations. The talk draws on Dr. Leavitt’s book The Healthiest City to demonstrate that social and historical contexts informed responses to epidemics. Using examples of smallpox and influenza, it finds topsy-turvy changes in public health’s  efforts to control infectious diseases.

Talk Recording: Watch the lecture