A three day international conference titled ‘Epidemics in South Asian History: A review of medical, political and social responses’ will be held in Burdwan, West Bengal, India, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of November 2006. Sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, UK, the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London, UK, and Burdwan University, India, the meeting is being organised by Dr. Sanjoy Bhattacharya (Wellcome Trust Centre/UCL) and Dr. Achintya Kumar Dutta (Department of History, Burdwan University).

Scope of the meeting:

Historians of medicine generally agree that the detailed examination of epidemic outbreaks of disease can be extremely informative about a number of important themes. The implementation of public health policy, the great variety medical and civilian attitudes, and the nature and impact of the human toll of the diseases in question were all witnessed and recorded carefully. While this generalization holds true for all contexts, it is particularly pertinent for the South Asian region. Epidemics here led, almost without exception, to the development of impressive collections of official archives, which also drew upon sources providing information about popular attitudes towards the crisis; a feature of the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial periods. These archives are being systematically and carefully examined by historians, who have developed refreshing new analyses about the impact of the dramatic incidence of disease, infectious or otherwise. The proposed meeting, which draws upon the expertise of a wide range of well-known, historians, seeks to showcase an impressive selection of this work, which will describe the official efforts at coping with a range of diseases, their varying impact on different sections of society, the plethora of civilian responses towards the effects of disease and concerted government intervention, and, not least, the investigations into new medical technologies and public health strategies brought on by these crises.

Prof. Harold J. Cook, Prof. Kalinga Tudor Silva, Dr. Achintya Kumar Dutta, Prof. Chittabrata Palit, Dr. Mridula Ramanna, Dr. Manjiri Kamat, Dr. Harish Naraindas, Dr. Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, Dr. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Dr. Arabinda Samanta, Dr. Mark Harrison, Ms. Amna Khaled and Mr. Rohan Deb-Roy will be among the speakers.

Important note: Although the presenters’ list cannot be expanded further, colleagues who are able to pay for their travel to – and lodgings in – Burdwan are welcome to join us. There are no registration fees, but those interested in attending the conference need to collect an invitation from Dr. Sanjoy Bhattacharya (E.Mail: [email protected] & [email protected]); a limited number of these will be available for general distribution.