The current global health crisis is, in many ways, the culmination of a much longer history of unbridled globalization. Using our social and cultural experience of the past year, this seminar proposes to re-examine the concepts, practices and scientific institutions that have been mobilized by over the course of this longer, global history to make the phenomenon of “contagion” intelligible and, ideally, controllable. In part, it will present these different approaches as an introduction to various historical methodologies (ranging from historical epistemology to the global histories of medical expertise), in addition to showing their implementation in various global socio-political and cultural contexts (not only in Europe, but also in the Ottoman Empire, India, China or Japan). Finally, it aims to open a more general discussion regarding the potential interdisciplinary approaches to epidemics at the crossroads of economics, anthropology, sociology and political science. The seminar will cover a long period from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century.