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Configurations of Plague

Spatial Diagrams in Early Epidemiology

Lukas Engelmann

Diagrams are found at the heart of the modern history of epidemiology. Epidemiologists used spatial diagrams to visualize concepts of epidemics as arrangements of biological, environmental, historical, as well as social factors and to analyze epidemics as configurations. Often, they provided a representation of the networks of relationships implied by epidemics, rather than to offer conclusions about origin and causation. This article will look at two spatial diagrams of plague across a period in which an epidemiological way of reasoning stood in stark contrast to arguments provided about plague in the rising field of bacteriology and experimental medicine. This historical genealogy of epidemiologists working with diagrams challenges perceptions of epidemic diagrams as mere arguments of causality to emphasize diagrammatic notions of uncertainty, crisis, and invisibility.

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Miraculous Healing for the Warrior Soul

Transforming Fear, Violence, and Shame in Fourteenth-Century Provence

Nicole Archambeau

This article considers the crises of plague, civil war, and mercenary invasion that Provençal communities faced in the years between 1343 and 1363. Canonization inquest testimony reveals that both combatants and noncombatants prayed to the holy woman, Countess Delphine de Puimichel, to heal the spiritual sickness of violence. In their testimonies, witnesses relived moments of crisis when they had used Delphine's special relationship to God to escape death, fear, and humiliation.

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Epidemics as Events and as Crises

Comparing Two Plague Outbreaks in Manchuria (1910–11 and 1920–21)

Christos Lynteris

This article draws on Alain Badiou's notion of the event and on Michel Foucault's critique of the notion of crisis in comparing two pneumonic plague outbreaks in Manchuria. It is argued that the two epidemics, although apparently involving the same pathogen and geographical region, cannot be treated as analogous. The article approaches the Manchurian pneumonic plague epidemic of 1910–11 as an event, and the Manchurian pneumonic plague epidemic of 1920–21 as a crisis, stressing that the crucial difference between the two lies with the way in which they produced and reproduced biopolitical subjects.

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COVID-19 as method

Managing the ubiquity of waste and waste-collectors in India

Tridibesh Dey

– though unevenly. Binding crises of the past (like the 1842 Great Fire of Hamburg, the 1858 Great Stink in London and the 1896 Bombay plague) have led to ubiquitous reforms in sanitation and waste management practices, most notably landmark innovations in

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Arlene M. Rosen

Burroughs, William James. 2005. Climate Change in Prehistory: The End of the Reign of Chaos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 336 pp., $30.00 (UK£19.99). ISBN 0-521-82409-5 (Hardback).

Ruddiman, W. F. 2005. Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 272 pp., $24.95 (UK£15.95). ISBN: 0-691-12164-8.

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Clay Clemens

Contrary to many common expectations for a Grand Coalition, Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2005-2009 CDU/CSU-SPD government produced few major policy changes. Its modest output is generally attributed to polarized competition between two co-equal, longtime rivals that blocked cooperation. Yet, interparty gridlock was less decisive than intraparty paralysis. The CDU, CSU, and SPD formed a government at the very time when each was plagued by internal divisions over programmatic identity, fueled in turn by interrelated strategic and leadership struggles. The result was caution, confusion, patchwork measures, side payments and reversals.

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William W. Darrow

Public health in the United States has lost its edge. It made a significant impact on human well-being, capacities, and potential in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Now it takes a backseat to biomedical research and therapeutic medicine. Population health with its traditional emphasis on preventing harm has been displaced by an exorbitantly expensive and continually expanding medical care system devoted almost exclusively to restoring or rehabilitating the health of patients – no matter the cost. The failure to control the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the United States can be attributed to adherence to an inadequate biomedical model that ignores the social. Social quality theory, designed to further social justice, solidarity, equal value, and human dignity, can contribute to identifying and correcting deficiencies in biomedical approaches to HIV prevention and other public health problems that continue to plague the people of the United States.

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Clive James

When I first read him more than forty years ago, I thought Peter Porter was the same age as he is now. Impressed by his evident conviction that the modern world was essentially a Technicolor version of one of those Dürer woodcuts in which the knightly rider was flanked by death and the Devil in his journey through a landscape ravaged by war and plague, I pictured the agonised artist as a gaunt, white-bearded figure hunched under a velvet cap, setting down his long-pondered apocalyptic visions by candlelight. Not that his poems creaked: indeed they hurtled. But, however long their rhythmic breath and legato their line, they still sounded like the last gasps of a sage, and all the sages I had ever heard of had whiskers on them.

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Relocating an Idyll

How British Travel Writers Presented the Carpathians, 1862-1912

Lily Ford

Thus responded Lion Phillimore to the English landscape, on a train to Folkstone in the summer of 1912. Phillimore was headed for Cracow, and a tour of the Carpathians, a mountain range that encompassed what was then Austrian Poland (including the regions of Galicia, Ruthenia and Moravia) and parts of Hungary and Romania. Her and her husband’s insistence on sleeping rough and travelling with only a horse and cart and a teenage guide may have perplexed the locals, much to the Phillimores’ delight, but the novelty would have been far less to the British public who would read her account of the tour. In the Carpathians has many of the hallmarks of the twentieth-century genre of travel writing identified by Paul Fussell (1981: 209–211) and Mark Cocker (1992: 157–9). Phillimore journeys eastwards on European rails to escape encroaching modernity, to shake off the ‘industrialism’ that plagues her vision every time she looks out of the train window right through Germany into Poland; her destination ‘the last capital in Europe untouched by civilisation and in which the glamour of the Middle Ages still lingered’ (Phillimore 1912: 12).

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'in plain English, stark naked'

Orlando, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Reclaiming Sapphic Connections

Alison Winch

Despite her claims to truth and plainness, however, Montagu’s autobiographical account is embellished, feigned and fragmented. She rewrites herself as a precocious fourteen-year-old as opposed to nineteen, and the related events and emotions do not always correspond with those outlined in her letters. In failing to write in so ‘plain a manner’, Montagu gestures at the inevitable fabrication involved in writing the self and in writing history. In particular, she exposes the difficulty of portraying a protagonist who ‘had a way of thinking very different from that of other Girls’ (79), of inscribing a person who defies the fixed, gendered categories of ‘plain English’. The problematics of depicting history and conforming to that powerful dictator, ‘reputation’, are further evident in Montagu’s ‘History of her Own Times’which she reportedly destroyed ‘as fast as she finished it, in a sustained, heroic act of self-censorship’.2 Indeed, the contradictory impulse to write the life of Montagu and to write it according to the policing gaze of ‘Chastity, Modesty and Purity’ plagues Montagu’s self-representations, as well as those of the critics who attempt to write and edit her life for future readers.