Gregg Mitman, “Bloodborne: Invasion and the Politics of Disease” | National Humanities Center


Gregg Mitman, “Bloodborne: Invasion and the Politics of Disease”

July 6, 2021

For the past several decades, authorities have become increasingly concerned about the threat posed by emerging diseases—not only to public health, but also to political and economic stability at a global scale. Attention has been particularly focused on tropical hotspots such as west and central Africa, where human encroachment has increased the likelihood of encountering novel pathogens, with potentially disastrous consequences.

In this podcast episode, Gregg Mitman, professor of history, medical history, and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, explores the ecological, economic, political, and social forces that have simultaneously turned regions of west Africa into profitable sites of natural resource extraction, productive enclaves of biomedical research, and hot zones for pandemic threats.

Gregg Mitman
Gregg Mitman, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Gregg Mitman is the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher, whose interests span the history of science, medicine, and the environment in the United States and the world and include a commitment to environmental and social justice. His most recent work has focused on a multimedia project—films, a book, and public history website—exploring the history and legacy of the Firestone Plantations Company in Liberia. He coproduced and codirected with Sarita Siegel two films, In the Shadow of Ebola, an intimate portrait of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and The Land Beneath Our Feet, a documentary on history, memory, and land rights in Liberia. His book, Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia, will be published by The New Press.