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Challenging traditional approaches to medical history, Disease in the History of Modern Latin America advances understandings of disease as a social and cultural construction in Latin America. This innovative collection provides a vivid look at the latest research in the cultural history of medicine through insightful essays about how disease—whether it be cholera or aids, leprosy or mental illness—was experienced and managed in different Latin American countries and regions, at different times from the late nineteenth century to the present.
Based on the idea that the meanings of sickness—and health—are contestable and subject to controversy, Disease in the History of Modern Latin America displays the richness of an interdisciplinary approach to social and cultural history. Examining diseases in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, the contributors explore the production of scientific knowledge, literary metaphors for illness, domestic public health efforts, and initiatives shaped by the agendas of international agencies. They also analyze the connections between ideas of sexuality, disease, nation, and modernity; the instrumental role of certain illnesses in state-building processes; welfare efforts sponsored by the state and led by the medical professions; and the boundaries between individual and state responsibilities regarding sickness and health. Diego Armus’s introduction contextualizes the essays within the history of medicine, the history of public health, and the sociocultural history of disease.
Contributors. Diego Armus, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Kathleen Elaine Bliss, Ann S. Blum, Marilia Coutinho, Marcus Cueto, Patrick Larvie, Gabriela Nouzeilles, Diana Obregón, Nancy Lays Stepan, Ann Zulawski
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"This book is an extraordinary contribution that brings together the very best scholars of Latin American public health and social history. Its emphasis on the social conditions that lead to epidemic disease as well as the political and social forces that shape practice is a welcome corrective to a literature still too often dominated by positivist traditions."--David Rosner, director of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health, Columbia UniversityAbout the Author:
Diego Armus is Assistant Professor of Latin American History at Swarthmore College.
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