1st Edition

Disease, Health Care and Government in Late Imperial Russia
Life and Death on the Volga, 1823-1914

ISBN 9781138967779
Published August 18, 2015 by Routledge
232 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

USD $57.95

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Book Description

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.

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

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


"[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