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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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Illness, Metaphor, and Bells

Campanology under COVID-19

Remi Chiu

Throughout 2020 and 2021, bells have rung in a variety of COVID-related rituals in the West, ranging from large-scale religious and civic rites, to ad hoc neighborhood and hospital initiatives, to anti-racist memorials that simultaneously spoke to the health crisis at hand. Taking stock of how these COVID bell-ringing rituals were formalized, their structures and actions, and the historical precedents from which they drew their meanings, this article investigates what the sounds of bells and the rituals of bell-ringing communicated about COVID, how they shaped our personal and collective experiences of the crisis, and what functions they were expected to serve during this liminal period. It reveals how, owing to the historical polysemy of bells on the one hand and the social uncertainties of living with COVID on the other, those rituals generated vivid symbolisms and mobilized powerful emotions that sometimes brought about unintended consequences.

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Whoso List to Find?

Hard Facts, Soft Data, and Women Who Count

Elizabeth Mazzola

early modern woman fell victim to plague or love, in other words. Even when they did succumb, cheap printed texts often rescued or at least redeemed them, sparing them from scorn, namelessness or despair. Indeed, the evidence which early modern ballads

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Chiara Cocco and Aleida Bertran

a plague that was decimating the Sardinian population. In return for the Saint delivering the city from the plague, every May Sant'Efisio's statue is carried and followed by devotees in a pilgrimage that lasts four days and covers a total of 80

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“Many and Dreadful Disasters”

Mediterranean Travel, Plague, and Quarantine in the Late Eighteenth Century

Kathryn Walchester

restrictions imposed on the movement of human bodies by governments. It begins by considering the background of ideas around plague and contagion. From the outbreaks of plague in the fourteenth century, nations sought to control the spread of disease by

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Everyday Madness

On Anger, Loss and Psychoanalysis

Lisa Appignanesi

populisms that currently seem to plague our democracies – from the US with its raging president and an overheated Twittersphere rampant with hate of intelligence, of foreigners, and dare I say of women; to Britain in the throes of Brexit – that backlash to

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Editorial Introduction

The Cases of Italy and China

Harry G. J. Nijhuis and Laurent J.G. van der Maesen

origins and initial epidemiological dynamics of the pandemic, though, are still unclear and are the subject of scientific discussion ( Dou et al. 2021 ; Nadeau et al. 2021 ). In the thirteenth century, the spread of “the plague” (Yersinia Pestis) is

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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