Driven by Fear: Epidemics and Isolation in San Francisco's House of Pestilence - History of Emotions (Hardback)
  • Driven by Fear: Epidemics and Isolation in San Francisco's House of Pestilence - History of Emotions (Hardback)
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Driven by Fear: Epidemics and Isolation in San Francisco's House of Pestilence - History of Emotions (Hardback)

(author)
£76.00
Hardback 316 Pages / Published: 21/12/2015
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From the late nineteenth century until the 1920s, authorities required San Francisco's Pesthouse to segregate the diseased from the rest of the city. Although the Pesthouse stood out of sight and largely out of mind, it existed at a vital nexus of civic life where issues of medicine, race, class, environment, morality, and citizenship entwined and played out. Guenter B. Risse places this forgotten institution within an emotional climate dominated by widespread public dread and disgust. In Driven by Fear , he analyzes the unique form of stigma generated by San Franciscans. Emotional states like xenophobia and racism played a part. Yet the phenomenon also included competing medical paradigms and unique economic needs that encouraged authorities to protect the city's reputation as a haven of health restoration. As Risse argues, public health history requires an understanding of irrational as well as rational motives. To that end he delves into the spectrum of emotions that drove extreme measures like segregation and isolation and fed psychological, ideological, and pragmatic urges to scapegoat and stereotype victims--particularly Chinese victims--of smallpox, leprosy, plague, and syphilis. Filling a significant gap in contemporary scholarship, Driven by Fear looks at the past to offer critical lessons for our age of bioterror threats and emerging infectious diseases.

Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 9780252039843
Number of pages: 316
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"This study of the pesthouse, an institution designed to cope with the fear of contagious disease, is a significant contribution to the history of American medicine and public health as well as the history of immigration and ethnicity."--Journal of American Ethnic History

"Risse makes expert use of the history of the pesthouse to illustrate the dangers of authoritarian public health interventions . . . and makes a persuasive case for community-based, multi-directional responses that conscientiously reckon with the ways in which racial, ethnic, and class disparities frame our understanding of health and risk."--Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
"With this timely book, Risse has made an important contribution to the critical reflection of ongoing reorganisations and the apparent strengthening of federal powers in matters of quarantine and epidemic preparedness in the USA."--Social History of Medicine


"Thoroughly grounding his book in rich primary sources, particularly newspapers (especially the San Francisco Chronicle), and medical sources, Risse provides a model for sound historical research and storytelling, both of considerable use to undergraduates. Far more than an isolated historical account, the work continually relates the historical implications to modern medical culture and practice. Highly recommended."--Choice
"An excellent account of the largely overlooked role of pesthouses in public health history... [Driven by Fear is] deeply researched, wonderfully written, and very timely."--Western Historical Quarterly

"A well-researched study that demonstrates the shortsightedness of governments that focused more on satisfying business interests than on funding adequate health provisions in response to epidemics."--Journal of American History
"A true gem from one of our most distinguished historians of medicine. Risse's book is ambitious, original, and even brave. Driven by Fear covers an admirably wide variety of subjects and subdisciplines, and in the process truly breaks new ground in the history of public health. Moreover, Risse's prose consistently helps us feel the past--his is indeed an emotional as well as intellectual achievement."--Robert D. Johnston, editor of The Politics of Healing: Histories of Alternative Medicine in Twentieth-Century North America

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