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Diseased Relations

Epidemics, Public Health, and State-Building in Yucatάn, Mexico, 1847-1924

Heather McCrea

Publication Year: 2010

This study examines the politics of postcolonial state-building through the lens of disease and public health policy in order to trace how indigenous groups on the periphery of power and geography helped shape the political practices and institutions of modern Mexico. Placing Yucatán at the center of an international labor force, global economics (due to the henequen boom), and a modernizing medical establishment, Heather McCrea incorporates the region into a larger discussion about socioeconomic change and the pervasive role that health care, or lack thereof, plays in human society.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix


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pp. xi-xiv

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1. Introduction: Region, Ethnography, and Medicine in Yucat

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pp. 1-20

This book examines the construction of modern Mexico through the lens of public health and disease. Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Mexicans endured crushing epidemics while the political and social order around them changed drastically. ...

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2. The Politics of Prevention: The Maya, Smallpox, and Vaccination Campaigns

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pp. 21-58

In December 1852, the director of vaccine propagation and conservation for the state of Yucatán, Dr. Manuel Campos, wrote a resignation letter to Governor Barbachano in which he voiced his frustration with what he saw as a highly inept state bureaucracy. ...

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3. On Sacred Ground: Cholera, Burial Rites, and Cemetery Management

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pp. 59-94

Early one October morning in 1853, don Esteban Herrera walked slowly toward his local church in the town of Cacalchén. As he would later testify, Herrera, the village’s juez de paz (magistrate), was tired and worn after having spent the night in consultation with the priest and laying out about fifteen bodies end to end on the patio of the small church. ...

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4. Cholera and the Caste War: Civilizing Campaigns and Disease Prevention

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pp. 95-132

In 1849 the governor of Yucatán, Miguel Barbachano, started writing a column in El Siglo XIX. Barbachano had been governor since 1843—a fateful period for Yucatán that saw the overthrow of Santa Anna, the Mexican-American war, and the brutal commencement of the Caste War. ...

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5. Modernizing the Periphery: Henequen, the Caste War, and Yellow Fever

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pp. 133-161

In 1889 a letter of grievances was sent to Yucatán’s governor, Teodosio Canto, by the residents of Santiago, one of Mérida’s suburbs, who complained about the unsanitary conditions of their community markets, slaughterhouses, and medical clinics. ...

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6. Disease Prevention, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Revolution in Yucat

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pp. 163-190

The national revolution arrived late in Yucatán, almost four years after dictator Porfirio Díaz fled Mexico in 1911 and revolutionaries had seized the central and northern parts of the country. When revolutionary activism began in Yucatán in 1915, it assumed a distinctly socialist form in comparison to revolutionary activities throughout the rest of Mexico. ...

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Conclusion: Outsiders, Disease, and Public Health in Modern Yucat

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pp. 191-200

In Colonial Pathologies, Warwick Anderson has shown how an intersection of interests between the Rockefeller Foundation doctors and American officials in the American colony of the Philippines brought about the “medical exoneration of the tropical environment as a directly pathogenic agent.”1 ...

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Afterword: H1N1 and the Legacy of Uncertainty

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pp. 201-206

In April 2009, a new strain of influenza virus called H1N1, also known as “swine flu,” began to spread throughout Mexico (reported first in the state of Veracruz) with such alarming rapidity that in less than one month, over four hundred Mexicans had been infected and nineteen had died from the virus.1 ...


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pp. 207-250


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pp. 251-277

Index [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 279-288

E-ISBN-13: 9780826348999
E-ISBN-10: 0826348998
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826348982
Print-ISBN-10: 082634898X

Page Count: 310
Illustrations: 1 halftone, 1 map, 6 illustrations, 2 charts
Publication Year: 2010