Plague and the City uncovers discourses of plague and anti-plague measures in the city during the medieval, early modern and modern periods, and explores the connection between plague and urban environments including attempts by professional bodies to prevent or limit the outbreak of epidemic disease.
Bringing together leading scholars of plague working across different historical periods, this book provides an inter-disciplinary study of plague in the city across time and space. The chapters cover a wide range of periods, geographical locations and disciplinary approaches but all seek to answer significant questions, including whether common motives can be identified, and how far knowledge about plague was based on an understanding of the urban space. It also examines how maps and photographs contribute to understanding plague in the city through exploring the ways in which the relationship between plague and the urban environment has been visualised, from the poisoned darts of plague winging their way towards their victims in the votive pictures from the Renaissance, to the mapping of the spread of disease in late nineteenth-century Bombay and photographing Honolulu’s great plague fire in 1900.
Containing a series of studies that illuminate plague’s urban connection as a key social and political concern throughout history, Plague and the City is ideal for students of early modern history, and of the early modern city and plague more specifically.
'Through interdisciplinary approaches in medical, anthropological, and visual histories, the essays in this volume unravel complex interconnections between plague and urban environments from the Black Death to the twentieth century. Among their novel discoveries, they chart a shift in the visualization of plague from an emphasis on diseased bodies to the mapping and photographing of stark cityscapes, devised to understand and control epidemic disease.'
Samuel Cohn, University of Glasgow, UK
'Urban leaders once believed they could sense plague risks in fetid miasma, or map risky environments house-by-house, or photograph epidemic fodder within ubiquitous scenes of dirt and disorder. This set of engaging new studies highlights the urban-centred backdrop to much plague history. Readers will wind through backstreets and cul-de-sacs, spaces where the privileged identified plague spots.'
Ann G. Carmichael, Indiana University, USA
Introduction: The Plague and the City in History
Lukas Engelmann, John Henderson and Christos Lynteris
Chapter 1: ‘Great Stenches, Horrible Sights and Deadly Abominations’: Butchery and the Battle Against Plague in Late Medieval English Towns
Chapter 2: Plague in Early Modern London: Chronologies, Localities, and Environments
Chapter 3: ‘Filth is the Mother of Corruption’: Plague and the Built Environment in Early Modern Florence
Chapter 4: Plague Views: Epidemics, Photography, and the Ruined City
Chapter 5: The Disease Map and the City: Desire and Imitation in the Bombay Plague, 1896-1914
Nicholas H. A. Evans
Chapter 6: ‘A Source of Sickness’. Photographic Mapping of the Plague in Honolulu in 1900
Chapter 7: Public Culture and the Spectacle of Epidemic Disease in Rabat and Casablanca
‘The Body in the City’ investigates the complex, diverse, and multi-layered realities and understandings of ‘the body’ in medieval and early modern societies. The research program encompasses various disciplines – art, architecture, literature, medicine, politics, religion, gender, society – and focusses on archival, textual, visual and environmental materials. The time-period covered by this series, 1100-1800, corresponds to a crucial period for the development of European urban centres and cultures. Within this framework the series will explore very diverse, yet still coherent, studies, aiming to speak to each other in thought-provoking ways.
The series aims to intersect and to energise two strands in historical studies: the pre-modern city as an historical subject (encompassing political institutions, rituals, built environments, religious activities, etc) and histories of the premodern body with their debates about how bodies are shaped by discourse and context. The series will emphasize approaches which emphasize the vernacular as revealed by new sources and novel approaches to them. While there are numerous studies of the body in history, this series will explore critically and in innovative ways the relationship between bodies and environments. This will allow scholars involved to analyse how particular spaces, locations and physical milieux affect understandings of the body and govern responses to particular problems. The multi-disciplinary approach to the topic places the series at the leading edge of its field.