Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
The Political Life of an Epidemic

The Political Life of an Epidemic
Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship in Zimbabwe

  • Publication planned for: April 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from April 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108489102


Add to wishlist

Looking for an inspection copy?

Please email to enquire about an inspection copy of this book

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Zimbabwe's catastrophic cholera outbreak of 2008–9 saw an unprecedented number of people affected, with 100,000 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths. Cholera, however, was much more than a public health crisis: it represented the nadir of the country's deepening political and economic crisis of 2008. This study focuses on the political life of the cholera epidemic, tracing the historical origins of the outbreak, examining the social pattern of its unfolding and impact, analysing the institutional and communal responses to the disease, and marking the effects of its aftermath. Across different social and institutional settings, competing interpretations and experiences of the cholera epidemic created charged social and political debates. In his examination of these debates which surrounded the breakdown of Zimbabwe's public health infrastructure and failing bureaucratic order, the scope and limitations of disaster relief, and the country's profound levels of livelihood poverty and social inequality, Simukai Chigudu reveals how this epidemic of a preventable disease had profound implications for political institutions and citizenship in Zimbabwe.

    • Shows how cholera, a preventable disease, became a national crisis in 2008 with implications for political institutions and citizenship in Zimbabwe
    • Offers a new theory of epidemics by applying concepts from medical philosophy to a specific historical event
    • Challenges the view of epidemics as purely biological events revealing their complexity in an accessible way to a non-specialist audience
    Read more

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Publication planned for: April 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108489102
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from April 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. Stories and politics of cholera
    1. The making of urban (dis)order: situating the cholera outbreak in historical perspective
    2. 'When people eat shit': cholera and the collapse of Zimbabwe's public health infrastructure
    3. Emergency politics: cholera as a national disaster
    4. The salvation agenda: medical humanitarianism and the response to cholera
    5. 'People were dying like flies': the social contours of cholera in Harare's high-density townships
    6. Conclusion. More to admire than despise?

  • Author

    Simukai Chigudu, University of Oxford
    Simukai Chigudu is Associate Professor of African Politics at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford. He was awarded the biennial Audrey Richards Prize for the best doctoral thesis in African Studies examined at a UK university. He is the author of several articles in leading academic journals including African Affairs, Critical African Studies, and Health Policy and Planning. He worked as a medical doctor before moving into academia.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.