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Epidemics – Hate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Epidemics: Hate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.


This book challenges a dominant hypothesis in the study of epidemics. From an interdisciplinary array of scholars, a consensus has emerged: invariably, epidemics in past times provoked class hatred, blame of the ‘other’, or victimization of the diseases’ victims. It is also claimed that when diseases were mysterious, without cures or preventive measures, they more readily provoked ‘sinister connotations’. The evidence for these assumptions, however, comes from a handful of examples—the Black Death, the Great Pox at the end of the sixteenth century, cholera riots of the 1830s, and AIDS, centred ... More

Keywords: epidemic, blame, violence, compassion, plague, cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, influenza, AIDS

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198819660
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198819660.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., author
Professor of Medieval History, University of Glasgow