“Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom,” 10/28 Colloquium w/ Stanford University Historian Kathryn Olivarius


For the final October colloquium at the Kinder Institute, Stanford University Assistant Professor of History Kathryn Olivarius will provide an overview of her research on yellow fever, immunity, and inequality in antebellum New Orleans. The talk will be held at 3:30pm in Jesse Hall 410. Anyone interested in attending virtually can do so via YouTube (link here) or Facebook (link here, account required).


Antebellum New Orleans sat at the heart of America’s slave and cotton kingdoms. But it was also the nation’s “necropolis,” with epidemic yellow fever killing thousands each summer and leaving countless more orphaned, widowed, and bereaved. Stanford University’s Kathryn Olivarius shows how this city became stratified between the “acclimated” and “unacclimated,” why these immunity labels mattered, and how yellow fever was mobilized by white elites to further divide and exploit the population.

A historian of the 19th-century U.S., primarily interested in the antebellum South, Greater Caribbean, slavery, capitalism, and disease, Kathryn Meyer Olivarius received her B.A. in History from Yale and her M.St. and D.Phil. from Oxford. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University. She is the author of Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom (Harvard University Press, Belknap imprint, 2022), and prior to joining the faculty at Stanford, she served as a Past and Present Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.