This history of the categorization of yellow fever explores the interchange between rhetoric and evidence in understanding the disease. Eighteenth-century models of medicine relied on rhetorical manipulation to convince readers of accuracy, unlike modern medicine, which claims objective evidence as the professional standard. But how did the physician as intellectual give way to the physician as scientist? This article analyzes the transition through a case study: J.-C. Faget, who famously discovered the definitive sign of yellow fever, and Charles Deléry disputed how doctors should attempt to understand the disease in New Orleans, a vital yet understudied medical center dominated by Francophone creole interests. It addresses the use of ideas about immunity to define racial, ethnic, and class differences; the rhetoric of health and medicine; and developing ontological theories of disease. It shows the struggle to employ intellectual realizations to understand this disease that cost the region dearly in lives and income.


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pp. 524-552
Launched on MUSE
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