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“Fear and Scapegoating during a Pandemic,” Pandemic Perspectives: Stories Through Collections (virtual)

September 29, 2020, 3 p.m.4 p.m.

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The National Museum of American History is launching an engaging series of talks that combine questions raised by the current pandemics and historic objects in the national collections. Curators and historians will virtually share objects, using them as a springboard for a lively discussion that explores how the past can help us better understand the present. The format will be a moderated dialogue among the panelists with the audience posing additional questions.

“Fear and Scapegoating during a Pandemic,” will be held Tuesday, September 29,  from 3 to 4 p.m. The blame game associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing new. Xenophobia, ethnic scapegoating, and racial fault have long been associated with communicable diseases. Drawing on museum collections, speakers will explore the history of government leaders, the media, and the public at large blaming immigrants and underserved communities for epidemics, and will discuss how to break this pattern for the future. This event is free, but preregistration is required.

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This session will be moderated by Dr. Alexandra Lord, chair of the Medicine and Science Division at the National Museum of American History. The panelists are Dr. Erika Lee, regents professor of History and Asian American Studies and director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Natalia Molina, professor in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California; and Dr. Theodore Gonzalves, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Community rally, San Francisco, California, 2020, courtesy Julie Tang


September 29, 2020
3 p.m.–4 p.m.
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