Epidemic diseases have been as important as war in their devastating effects on human society through the ages. This series of lectures looks at them in their relation to society, the economy, culture and ideas, and the state. Almost always their origin and spread are conditioned by human interactions, and the effectiveness of medical intervention still depends heavily on the social and political context. We will be examining the extent to which epidemics have brought about social change, how they have affected politics, and where they have affected, or been affected by, the state. The lectures will consider the cultural impact of epidemics, in art and literature, and in religious belief. We will be looking at the possibilities of future epidemics and the threats disease poses for human society today.