Abstract

Abstract:

The dissemination of the smallpox vaccine occurred through global networks that transmitted goods, people, and ideas as well as diseases beginning in the late eighteenth century. The eradication of smallpox through the distribution of the vaccine and passage of mandatory vaccination laws was not a story of linear progress of medicalization. Instead, using the same global networks, anti-vaccinationists distributed their critiques of statistical studies that showed the efficacy of the smallpox vaccine and contested the necessity of obligatory vaccination laws during the fin de siècle. Alfredo Helsby, a well-known Chilean artist, traveled throughout the United States and Europe, bringing back a plethora of antivaccinationists literature that he translated and used as evidence in his writings against the vaccine and mandatory vaccination laws In Chile. Helsby adapted anti-vaccinationist discourses by recounting tragedies resulting from smallpox vaccinations and challenging the medical and political elites attempts at implementing public health measures that targeted the working class and poor. Helsby's writings reveal Chile's connections with the anti-vaccinationist narratives in the Atlantic world and challenge to state's intervention into the lives of Chileans at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1557-203X
Print ISSN
1557-2021
Pages
pp. 523-546
Launched on MUSE
2021-02-02
Open Access
No
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