From the 1850s to the 1890s, Tanta, the largest city in the Egyptian delta appeared in print media throughout the world as an epicenter of cholera. Medical journals, periodicals, and missionary tracts reproduced the death tolls from the 1848 cholera epidemic that killed three thousand people in Tanta. Collectively, colonial administrators, missionaries, and physicians pigeon-holed Tanta as an epicenter of cholera that threatened to spread westward. This article uses Tanta’s emergence into the global discourse of public medicine as a vehicle to understand the dynamic relationship between global and local engagements. It argues that the 1848 outbreak took on new meaning over the second half of the nineteenth century as it played into larger debates about germ theory, colonialism, and global trade. It shows that Tanta’s engagement with the global discourse reflects the inherently symbiotic relationship between world and local histories.


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pp. 581-604
Launched on MUSE
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