New course opens at GS analyzing pandemics’ effects on human behavior

Ashlynn Melnyk, Correspondent

Georgia Southern implemented and ran its very first comparative literature course early this year, focusing on pandemic literature through the centuries.

“Pandemic literature affects everyone, therefore it is a global phenomenon,” said co-director Martha Hughes. “Even within the past it still had the same effect. It is something that affects everyone it crosses.” 

Pandemic literature has been implemented in many different universities across the world such as Princeton and Columbia University. The course consists of 10 primary reading books ranging from the study of pandemics during ‘ancient greek and roman eras’ to ‘the 21st century’. 

During this course, students focus on the impact of pandemics on human behavior. “Pandemics are all different in all sorts of ways, but the reactions of human beings seem to not change at all over the course of centuries.”

As this is the first course for a comparative literature minor, the requirements of completing the minor are five courses at the 3000 level or above. According to Hughes, because the minor is so interdisciplinary, “students are actually able to take classes from other departments that fit the same scheme and apply them to this minor”. 

Since the course began, Hughes noted that pandemic literature has offered opportunities for students to open up and think about what they can learn about themselves from history, and how they can apply the behavior to their own lives.

The course has also opened a broader range of learning by allowing guests to come in for their own lecture presentations correlating pandemic literature to their own areas of profession. Guests are: Greg Brock, Beth Butterfield and many more. Hughes hopes to continue this course as well as others.