By Elizabeth Fee, Daniel M. Fox

The AIDS epidemic has posed extra pressing old questions than the other illness of contemporary instances. How have societies spoke back to epidemics long ago? Why did the illness emerge while and the place it did? How has it unfold between participants of specific teams? and the way will the earlier have an effect on the future—in specific, what does the historical past of scientific technological know-how and public future health let us know approximately our skill to regulate the epidemic and at last to remedy the disease?

Historical tools of inquiry switch, and those that use those tools usually disagree on concept and perform. certainly, the individuals to this quantity carry quite a few evaluations on debatable historiographic matters. yet they proportion 3 very important rules: wary adherence to the "social constructionist" view of previous and current; profound skepticism approximately historicism's proposal of development; and wariness approximately "presentism," the distortion of the earlier through seeing it in simple terms from the viewpoint of the present.

Each of the twelve essays addresses a side of the burdens of heritage in the course of the AIDS epidemic. via "burdens" is intended the inescapable importance of occasions long ago for the current. All of those occasions are comparable indirectly to the present epidemic and will support make clear the advanced social and cultural responses to the predicament of AIDS.

This assortment illuminates current matters at once and forcefully with out sacrificing recognition to historic aspect and to the variations among prior and current occasions. It reminds us that a number of the concerns now being debated—quarantine, exclusion, public wishes and personal rights—have their parallels long ago. this may be an enormous booklet for social historians and basic readers in addition to for historians of drugs.

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Extra resources for AIDS: The Burdens of History

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Riley in Survey , 29 July 1916, 448, asked: "Is not infantile paralysis one of the health problems arising among the same people and in the same conditions as give us our problems of tuberculosis and other contagious or infectious diseases, of poverty, ignorance, deformities, and defects? Perhaps one could include also delinquency and drunkenness. . " 113. Haven Emerson, "The Responsibilities of the Department of Health of the City of New York," Long Island Medical Journal 10 (July 1916): 261.

79. New York Times , 28 June 1916; JAMA 67 (7 July 1916): 129-130. 80. "Dr. " New York Times , 5 July 1916. 81. JAMA 67 (29 July 1916): 366. 82. An extract from the leaflet distributed by the Health Department is available in Haven Emerson, "Some practical considerations in the administrative control of epidemic poliomyelitis," American Journal of Medical Sciences 153 (1917): 161-162. The leaflets were printed in English, Italian, and Hebrew. 83. For popular writings on the subject, see for example, "Infantile paralysis from fly-bites," Literary Digest , 28 December 1912, 1220-1221.

The essential characteristic of quarantine is the establishing of a boundary to separate the contaminated from the uncontaminated. But to consider only those quarantines of diseases that are infectious or that have short periods of illness, characterized by, say, fever, would be to overlook the deeper emotional and broader ag― 68 ― gressive character of this measure. Evidence of this elemental fear of contagion includes such instances as measures taken against yellow fever in the eighteenth century and the growing fear of the AIDS epidemic in the late twentieth century.

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