Tuberculosis: A Cultural History

Tuberculosis (and especially drug resistant strains) is a major global health problem, with over nine million people developing the disease annually and 1.5 million dying from it. The history of TB reveals the complex and often contradictory meanings assigned to this disease. The terms used to talk about TB – phthisis, consumption, the “white plague”, and the “wasting disease”, for example – reveal a great deal about popular perceptions relating to contagion and individual social responsibility.

Share this event:


Joanna is Gresham Professor of Rhetoric. She is a well-known social and cultural historian. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and outgoing Chair of its Modern History Section. She is the prizewinning author of 14 books, including histories on modern warfare, medicine and science, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, pain, what it means to be human, and sexual violence.


Gresham College Holborn London EC1N 2HH

Nearby events