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Epidemics and Ideas

Epidemics and Ideas
Essays on the Historical Perception of Pestilence


Part of Past and Present Publications

Paul Slack, James Longrigg, Peregrine Horden, Lawrence I. Conrad, Brian Pullan, John V. Pickston, Richard J. Evans, A. W. Crosby, Rajnarayan Chandavarkar, Terence Ranger, Megan Vaughan, Virginia Berridge
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  • Date Published: November 1995
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521558310

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About the Authors
  • From plague to AIDS, epidemics have been the most spectacular diseases to afflict human societies. This volume examines the way in which these great crises have influenced ideas, how they have helped to shape theological, political and social thought, and how they have been interpreted and understood in the intellectual context of their time.

    • A wide-ranging volume of interdisciplinary essays covering ancient times to our own day
    • Relates the problems of AIDS to those of previous great epidemics worldwide
    • Includes many outstanding contributors who write across a broad canvas and with the widest terms of reference
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Epidemics and Ideas shows how epidemics evoke a series of recognisable reactions and responses from society beyond the specifics of pathogen, place or time. It is a very modern book, which brings successfully together history, anthropology, sociology and other so-called social sciences with medicine, or at least with public health. It goes far beyond the earlier appreciation of the relationship between human society and diseases ... [and] brings a vast specialised literature about past epidemics and the response of society to them within reach of the general reader'. New Scientist

    '… a remarkable cohesive and delightfully variegated book that brings medical and biological history into firm and fruitful contact with intellectual and social history … This is, in short, a splendid book – subtle, informed, sophisticated and coherent. It shows how successfully the social history of epidemics has come of age in recent years'. The Journal of Social History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1995
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521558310
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 213 x 140 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction Paul Slack
    2. Epidemic, ideas and classical Athenian society James Longrigg
    3. Disease, dragons and saints: the management of epidemics in the Dark Ages Peregrine Horden
    4. Epidemic disease in formal and popular thought in early Islamic Society Lawrence I. Conrad
    5. Plague and perceptions of the poor in early modern Italy Brian Pullan
    6. Dearth, dirt and fever epidemics: rewriting the history of British 'public health', 1780–1850 John V. Pickstone
    7. Epidemics and revolutions: cholera in nineteenth-century Europe Richard J. Evans
    8. Hawaiian depopulation as a model for the Amerindian experience A. W. Crosby
    9. Plague panic and epidemic politics in India, 1896–1914 Rajnarayan Chandavarkar
    10. Plagues of beasts and men
    prophetic responses to epidemic in eastern and southern Africa Terence Ranger
    11. Syphilis in colonial East and Central Africa: the social construction of an epidemic Megan Vaughan
    12. The early years of AIDS in the United Kingdom 1981–6: historical perspectives Virginia Berridge

  • Editors

    Terence Ranger, University of Oxford

    Paul Slack, University of Oxford


    Paul Slack, James Longrigg, Peregrine Horden, Lawrence I. Conrad, Brian Pullan, John V. Pickston, Richard J. Evans, A. W. Crosby, Rajnarayan Chandavarkar, Terence Ranger, Megan Vaughan, Virginia Berridge

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