Disease, Health Care and Government in Late Imperial Russia: Life and Death on the Volga, 1823-1914, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Disease, Health Care and Government in Late Imperial Russia

Life and Death on the Volga, 1823-1914, 1st Edition

By Charlotte E. Henze


232 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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This book addresses fundamental issues about the last decades of Tsarist Russia, contributing significantly to current debates about how far and how successfully modernisation was being implemented by the Tsarist regime. It focuses on successive outbreaks of cholera in the city of Saratov on the Volga, in particular contrasting the outbreak of 1892 - widely regarded at the time as a national fiasco and a transformative episode for the Russian Empire - with the cholera epidemics of 1904-1910 when - despite completely new scientific discoveries and administrative arrangements - Russia suffered another national outbreak of the disease.

The book sets these outbreaks fully in their social, economic, political and cultural context, and explains why a medical and social disaster - which had long since been overcome in other parts of Europe - continued much later in Russia. It explores autocratic government, urban renewal, public health, and disaster management, including the management of widespread public hysteria and social unrest. The book further analyses the assimilation of Western medical knowledge, and the resulting institutional and epistemological changes. Overall, it demonstrates that Russia’s medical history was inseparably linked to the nature of the tsarist regime itself in its confrontation with modernity.


"[A] very important and thoroughly researched book with well-contextualised arguments on cholera and medical professionals in Russia." - Tricia Starks, University of Arkansas; Revolutionary Russia, Vol. 24, No. 2, December 2011

Table of Contents

1. Cholera in Russia 2. Saratov on the Eve of the Epidemic 3. Cholera in Saratov, 1892 4. Sanitised Politics and the Politics of Medicine 5. The Revival of Cholera: 1904-1914 Conclusion: Saratov, Cholera, and the Empire

About the Author

Charlotte E. Henze completed her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, UK, and is currently teaching History and Russian in Zurich, Switzerland.

About the Series

BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies

This series is published on behalf of BASEES (the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies). The series comprises original, high-quality, research-level work by both new and established scholars on all aspects of Russian, Soviet, post-Soviet and East European Studies in humanities and social science subjects.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
MEDICAL / Medical History & Records
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General