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Ethnographic Plague

Configuring Disease on the Chinese-Russian Frontier

Authors: Lynteris, Christos

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eBook £49.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-137-59685-7
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Hardcover £63.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-59684-0
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About this book

Challenging the concept that since the discovery of the plague bacillus in 1894 the study of the disease was dominated by bacteriology, Ethnographic Plague argues for the role of ethnography as a vital contributor to the configuration of plague at the turn of the nineteenth century. With a focus on research on the Chinese-Russian frontier, where a series of pneumonic plague epidemics shook the Chinese, Russian and Japanese Empires, this book examines how native Mongols and Buryats came to be understood as holding a traditional knowledge of the disease. Exploring the forging and consequences of this alluring theory, this book seeks to understand medical fascination with culture, so as to underline the limitations of the employment of the latter as an explanatory category in the context of infectious disease epidemics, such as the recent SARS and Ebola outbreaks.

About the authors

Christos Lynteris is a social anthropologist working on biopolitical and visual aspects of infectious disease epidemics. He is Senior Research Associate at CRASSH, University of Cambridge, UK, and Principal Investigator of the European Research Council funded project Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic. He is also the author of The Spirit of Selflessness in Maoist China (2012).

Reviews

“This manuscript represents a significant contribution to the history of medicine, to epidemiology, and to medical anthropology in general. Through its careful reading of the third plague pandemic it shows not only how complex was the epidemic itself, but also how the understanding of the epidemic was mediated by synergistic factors, including diverse political, social, biomedical, and academic prejudices.” (David Napier, University College London, UK)

“Christos Lynteris has written an absorbing and ground-breaking account of a central episode in the third great plague pandemic, the epidemic of 1910-11 in Manchuria and the Chinese-Russian borders. Using the lens of an historical ethnographer, Lynteris provides a fascinating and sensitive reassessment of contemporary attitudes towards the supposed and actual transmitters of the disease - in which the marmot plays a starring role - and uses this to challenge the continuing debates and received wisdom about plague in the post-laboratory era.” (John Henderson, Birkbeck, University of London, UK)

“In the world of emerging infectious diseases, public health experts often turn to social anthropologists to provide local knowledge on the risk perception of zoonoses. With this fascinating enquiry on the transmission of plagues by marmots in Mandchuria one century ago, Christos Lynteris shows that this call is not new, and that it takes contradictory forms. This book is an important contribution to the theoretical reflection on interspecies barrier, and puts the contemporary question of zoonoses at the heart of a comparative anthropology, beyond the various calls for ethnography.” (Frédéric Keck, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Sociale, France)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Lynteris, Christos

    Pages 1-42

  • The Native Knowledge Hypothesis

    Lynteris, Christos

    Pages 43-68

  • Medical Myths and Mythic Medicine

    Lynteris, Christos

    Pages 69-88

  • Ethno-Geographic Entanglements

    Lynteris, Christos

    Pages 89-120

  • Anthropological Types and Clustered Hypotheses

    Lynteris, Christos

    Pages 121-148

Buy this book

eBook £49.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-59685-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £63.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-59684-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Ethnographic Plague
Book Subtitle
Configuring Disease on the Chinese-Russian Frontier
Authors
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-59685-7
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-59685-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-59684-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIX, 199
Number of Illustrations and Tables
3 b/w illustrations
Topics