By Alison Bashford, Claire Hooker

© 2001 – Routledge

256 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415758468
pub: 2014-04-10
Hardback: 9780415246712
pub: 2001-06-28

About the Book

In the age of HIV, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the Ebola Virus and BSE, metaphors and experience of contagion are a central concern of government, biomedicine and popular culture.

Contagion explores cultural responses of infectious diseases and their biomedical management over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also investigates the use of 'contagion' as a concept in postmodern reconceptualisations of embodied subjectivity.

The essays are written from within the fields of cultural studies, biomedical history and critical sociology. The contributors examine the geographies, policies and identities which have been produced in the massive social effort to contain diseases. They explore both social responses to infectious diseases in the past, and contemporary theoretical and biomedical sites for the study of contagion.


'A thought-provoking edited collection that permeates the boundaries between history, sociology, geography and the health sciences.' - Medical History, January 2005, 49 (1)

Table of Contents


Contagion, Modernity and Postmodernity

Contagion and Cultural Histories of the Modern World

1. The Meaning of Contagion: Reproduction, Medicine and Metaphore

2. Foreign Bodies: Vaccination, Contagion and Colonialism in the Nineteenth Century

3. Moral Contagion and the Will: The Crisis of Masculinity in Fin-de-Siécle France

4. Excremental Colonialism: Public Health and the Poetics of Pollution

5. Leprosy and the Management of Race, Sexuality and Nation in Tropical Australia

6. Sanitary Failure and Risk: Pasteurisation, Immunisation and the Logics of Prevention

Contaminating Capacities in Postmodernity 7. Vulnerable Bodies and Ontological Contamination

8. A Pig's Tale: Porcine Viruses and Species Boundaries

9. Taking the HIV Test: Self-Surveillance and the Making of Heterosexuality

10. The Promiscuous Placenta: Crossing Over

11. Carrier - Becoming Symborg

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Social History of Medicine

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General