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EpidemicsHate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS$
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Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198819660

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198819660.001.0001

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Cholera on the Continent and in America

Cholera on the Continent and in America

(p.180) 8 Cholera on the Continent and in America

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Oxford University Press

While describing the peculiarities of cholera myths and riots from Asiatic Russia to Quebec, 1831–7, this chapter emphasizes the remarkable similarities across national and linguistic divides, oceans, and political regimes. The chapter argues first that this pan-regional mental landscape with the poor and marginal lashing out against elites and the medical profession cannot be explained by political events, regimes, or other causes particular to local settings. Secondly, these beliefs and struggles, instead of fading with successive waves of cholera, continued in places such as Russia, parts of Eastern Europe, Spain, and Italy. Moreover, their geographic scope and violence could increase, as with the total destruction of the industrial town of Hughesofka (today Donetsk) and riotous crowds reaching 10,000 in Astrakhan in 1892, murdering governors, counts, and physicians. As Fernand Braudel taught us long ago, pan-regional phenomena cannot be explained by local events.

Keywords:   cholera, United States, Canada, Russia, Astrakhan, mythologies of mass murder, comparative history, Hungary, Congress of Poland, repression

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