Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

This book has been in the making for many years. Its roots go back to an undergraduate seminar on the environmental history of Canada that I took as an exchange student at York University in Toronto. Over the course of more than a decade, the project benefited from numerous persons and institutions. To thank all of them by name would be impossible in this limited space...

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Introduction: Cholera and the Colonial State in Urban Environments

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pp. 3-18

For the Anglican archdeacon of Quebec, G. J. Mountain, the sermon delivered on 30 December 1832 was an opportunity to reflect on the events of the almost bygone year. It had not been a good one. During the summer and autumn an epidemic of Asiatic cholera had had the city of Quebec in its grip. Cholera had been a traumatic experience of death and suffering...

Part I. First Encounters

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Chapter 1. Strategies of Treatment: Madras, 1818–1833

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pp. 21-52

Among Europeans, India—and the tropics in general—had an unflattering reputation for being unhealthy. Medical experts deemed the subcontinent’s climate to be especially harmful for Europeans, and surgeons had been warily observing the environment there ever since the British had arrived. The emergence of cholera as a recurring threat...

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Chapter 2. Strategies of Control: Quebec City, 1832–1834

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pp. 53-98

In 1824, in his Report on Epidemic Cholera in the Madras Presidency, William Scot had expressed his hope that Britain’s medical professionals would use his work without the urgency of an outbreak of the disease compelling them to do so.1 It took cholera only a few years to render this sentiment obsolete. The slow but steady movement of the disease, which reached Russia and then central Europe in 1830...

Part II. Integrating Sanitation

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Chapter 3. Frequent Visitations: Quebec City, 1840–1854

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pp. 101-129

By the 1830s, the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions had profoundly changed Britain, but nowhere were their effects more devastatingly felt than in the cities and factory towns. Millions had moved there looking for work, though their meager wages could pay for only crowded accommodations and poor food. Social unrest and poverty were rife and so were many epidemic and endemic diseases...

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Chapter 4. The Advent of Sanitarianism: Madras, 1840–1857

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pp. 130-161

While Quebec embraced sanitarianism quickly—at first primarily as a matter of status, then as a means of preventing epidemics—Madras faced a long road to universal acceptance of the principle. The government was extremely reluctant to invest substantial sums in infrastructure projects, fearing spiraling costs and unrest. Fundamentally opposed to this conservative position...

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Chapter 5. Sanitary Consensus at Last: Madras, 1858–1883

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pp. 162-198

After the departure of Governor Pottinger, the Madras government’s opposition to sanitary concepts began to crumble and the ideology of the civilizing mission gained momentum. This shift was not due to internal administrative developments, scientific advances, or improved engineering techniques but to external events. The sanitary movement had become the leading voice on public health in Britain...

Part III. Bacteriology and the Promise of Clarity

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Chapter 6. Finding the Comma Bacillus: Bacteriology in Madras and Quebec City, 1865–1910

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pp. 201-240

By the 1870s, sanitary thinking had been accepted in Madras, the government and the municipality had instigated some profound changes to the urban environment, and cholera had tested the weaknesses of these first improvements. In Quebec, the shift in priorities toward a permanent structural alteration of the urban environment had been accepted more readily...

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Conclusion. The Colonial State and the Elusive Consensus Regarding Cholera

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pp. 241-258

The Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918–19 put an end to the bacteriological promise of control over infectious disease. Spreading across the globe in three waves, the second being the most deadly, it turned out to be one of the most lethal pandemics in history. Millions succumbed, if not to influenza itself then to complications like pneumonia...

Notes

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pp. 259-298

Bibliography

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pp. 299-314

Index

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pp. 315-325

Back Cover

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pp. 326-326