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Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic

The public, online database of Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic offers historians, anthropologists, epidemiologists and visual scholars access to the first comprehensive online archive of photographs of any infectious disease epidemic in human history. The digital database offered by the project is based on the high-resolution digitisation of photographs of the third plague pandemic (1894-1959), which saw all inhabited continents infected by the Yersinia pestis bacterium, resulting in 12 million deaths. Having a major economic, political and social impact across the world while also leading to important scientific breakthroughs, this was the first epidemic to be captured by the photographic lens. Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic has collaborated with archives and libraries from across the globe to bring together a digital database representing some of the most significant instances of this photographic production. This is the first time that a digital online archive of a global pandemic has been assembled and made publicly available, allowing users to search for and compare photographs of a global pandemic from different periods and regions in the world in a systematic manner. Meticulously curated, this digital collection provides images of unique importance for medical, political, and social history and redraws the portrait of a disease that has been the cause of the most devastating catastrophes in human history. 

Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme/ERC grant agreement no 336564. 

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