In the nineteenth century, epidemics reached, for the first time in history, all inhabited continents. Globally spreading pathogens were an unintended side effect of a growing flow of people, animals and goods across state borders, imperial spaces and continents. "Of pathogens and humans" is an ongoing research project that analyzes reactions to increasingly mobile diseases in the American and British Empires from the 1850s to the end of the First World War. It studies practices as well as ideas guiding the policies on epidemics, thereby exploring a hybrid area at the intersection of various political fields, such as colonial, foreign and economic policies, questions of labor migration and public health. Focussing on selected hubs in both empires, where conditions for the mobility of diseases concentrated, the project asks to what extent contemporaries understood epidemics as a consequence of a growing interdependence and which practical implication this had.
Speaker: Andrea Wiegeshoff, Marburg University
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