1st Edition

In Pursuit of Healthy Environments Historical Cases on the Environment-Health Nexus

Edited By Esa Ruuskanen, Heini Hakosalo Copyright 2021
    262 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    262 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In Pursuit of Healthy Environments brings temporal depth to a highly topical issue, the interaction between health and the environment. By means of a rich set of historical case studies from Americas to Europe and from the tropics to the Arctic, the volume demonstrates that the concern for creating and finding healthy environments is not a new one, shows how the link between the environment and health has been perceived at different times and in different cultures, and discusses the practical implications of these conceptualizations.

    The book written by scholars from architecture, cultural anthropology, history, Indigenous Studies, media studies and sociology will be of interest to a reader interested in the historical roots of present health-related environmental issues. It discusses the spatiality and materiality of the conceptions of health and the practices of nurture in colonial and post-colonial environments and shows how greatly indigenous and colonial mindsets have differed during the last 300 years.

    It also investigates how certain environments have become labelled as healthy and life-preserving while others stigmatized by death and disease and how fluctuating these notions can be. Finally, it analyses the materialities and immaterialities, as well as the transgenerational and transboundary characters of environmental and medical knowledge.


    Heini Hakosalo & Esa Ruuskanen

    Part I: Healthy and Unhealthy Environments

    1. Crafts and Cleanliness: The Regulation of Noxious Business Activity in English Towns During the Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries

    Dolly Jørgensen

    2. Healthy Nature in a Bottle? The Contested Naturalness of Mineral Water

    Michael Zeheter

    3. Environmental Anxieties in 1980s Athens: Mediatisation and Politics

    Panagiotis Zestanakis

    4. The Woodland Cure: Tuberculosis Sanatorium Patients’ Perceptions of the Healing Power of Nature

    Heini Hakosalo

    Part II: Colonial Environments and Health

    5. From the "Wooden World" to "London Miniature": Charlotte Bristow Browne’s Diary, Nursing and the French and Indian War

    Marcel Hartwig

    6. Geography of Arctic Food: Northern Environment and Sámi Health in Transition, c. 1780–1920

    Ritva Kylli

    7. Standardized Housing Concepts in the North: Sámi Housing Meets Western Hygienic Norms in Twentieth-Century Finland

    Anu Soikkeli

    8. Health as Living in Tranquility: Dialogues with the Apurinã and Yaminawa in Indigenous Brazilian Amazonia

    Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen & Laura Pérez Gil

    Part III: Environmental and Medical Knowledges

    9. Local Environmental Knowledge, Cultural Go-Betweens and Linnaean Scientists in the Dutch Colonial World

    Kalle Kananoja

    10. Promotion of a Modern Holistic Vision of Hygiene: E. W. Lane's Hygienic Medicine in the British Medical Market, 1850s–1880s

    Min Bae

    11. From the Local to the Global, from the Environment to the Individual: Epidemiological Knowledge-Production and Changing Notions of Public Health

    Mikko Jauho

    12. Ultimate and Proximate, Genetic and Environmental: History of the Explanations of Altruism Since the 1960s

    Petteri Pietikäinen & Otto Pipatti

    Concluding Chapter

    Heini Hakosalo & Esa Ruuskanen


    Esa Ruuskanen is a Senior Research Fellow and the person responsible for the minor in Environmental Humanities at the University of Oulu, Finland. His research interests include environmental history of Western and Northern European peatlands, energy histories, and the environment-technology interaction.

    Heini Hakosalo works as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oulu, Finland. Her major research projects have dealt with Foucauldian historian of medicine and psychiatry, the history of brain sciences in late nineteenth century Europe, the beginnings of women’s medical education in Finland and Sweden, and history of tuberculosis in twentieth century Finland.