The Utah State University Honors Program hosts the 45th Annual Honors Last Lecture, “After the Vaccine: The United States Discovers Public Health,” featuring Seth Archer, assistant professor in the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. As the students’ choice for 2020 Honors Outstanding Professor, Archer will deliver the lecture via Zoom Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Archer is a cultural and environmental historian of North America with a particular interest in Native American and Indigenous history. His last lecture examines the United States government efforts to immunize American Indians, and Native peoples’ own efforts to defend against smallpox in the 1830s.
“Resistance to vaccination was at least as common among American Indians as non-Natives, yet many were open to the benefits of immunization, including some who sought it out and others who demanded it from the government,” Archer said.
From 2015 to 2017, Archer was the Mellon Research Fellow in American History at the University of Cambridge, and his first book, Sharks upon the Land: Colonialism, Indigenous Health, and Culture in Hawai?i, 1778–1855, won the Presidents Book Award from the Social Science History Association.
Initiated in 1976, the Honors Last Lecture is an important student tradition at Utah State University. Each year, Honors students nominate professors who have made an educational impact on their lives, and a committee of students then selects the year’s Honors Outstanding Professor. This exceptional faculty member delivers the talk they can imagine giving as their final lecture at USU. This year, Meridian Wappett, an Honors junior studying conservation and restoration ecology and agriculture natural resources pre-law, nominated Archer for the award.
“This event allows students to celebrate the teachers and mentors who have transformed their experience at USU,” says Kristine Miller, executive director of the Utah State University Honors Program.
Throughout the event, audience members are invited to use the Zoom Q&A tool to ask questions, which Archer will address after the lecture in a live Q&A moderated by Kerin Holt, associate professor from the USU Department of English.
This lecture is free and open to the public.
USU Honors Program