Article ID: CBB001420149

Cargo, “Infection,” and the Logic of Quarantine in the Nineteenth Century (2014)


In the nineteenth century, maritime quarantine officials often paid more attention to ships' cargo than they did to the health of passengers or crew members. Based on a close reading of the everyday practice of quarantine at Philadelphia's Lazaretto (1801--1895), this article suggests that the historical significance of quarantine has been distorted by its association with the etiological debate over contagion and with xenophobic responses to immigration. In fact, the practice of quarantine rested neither on contagionist medical doctrine nor on nativism. Rather, it was based on the danger of infection, an elusive but fundamental concept in nineteenth-century public health. The concern about cargo rather than people---and the logic of infection it reflects---bespeak a widely shared set of perceptions of illness and public health in the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century that is not captured by discussions of contagion or of anti-immigrant bias.

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Authors & Contributors
Silvano, Giovanni
Jones, Greta
Malcolm, Elizabeth
Hill, Allan G.
Kelly, James G.
Geary, Laurence M.
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Science in Context
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Asclepio: Archivo Iberoamericano de Historia de la Medicina
Pacific Historical Review
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Franco Angeli
International Specialized Book Services
Cornell University Press
Duke University Press
Indiana University Press
University of Pittsburgh Press
Public health
Medicine and politics
Hospitals and clinics
Emigration; immigration
Medicine and society
Rush, Benjamin
Wilde, Robert Willis
Franklin, Benjamin
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century
20th century, early
17th century
United States
Philadelphia, PA
Paris (France)
Royal Belfast Academical Institution
Catholic University of Ireland (Dublin)

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