Contagious Divides Epidemics and Race in San Francisco's Chinatown

ISBN-10: 0520226291
ISBN-13: 9780520226296
Edition: 2001
Authors: Nayan Shah
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Description: Contagious Divides charts the dynamic transformation of representations of Chinese immigrants from medical menace in the nineteenth century to model citizen in the mid-twentieth century. Examining the cultural politics of public health and Chinese  More...

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Book details

List price: $31.95
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/29/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.540
Language: English

Contagious Divides charts the dynamic transformation of representations of Chinese immigrants from medical menace in the nineteenth century to model citizen in the mid-twentieth century. Examining the cultural politics of public health and Chinese immigration in San Francisco, this book looks at the history of racial formation in the U.S. by focusing on the development of public health bureaucracies. Nayan Shah notes how the production of Chinese difference and white, heterosexual norms in public health policy affected social lives, politics, and cultural expression. Public health authorities depicted Chinese immigrants as filthy and diseased, as the carriers of such incurable afflictions as smallpox, syphilis, and bubonic plague. This resulted in the vociferous enforcement of sanitary regulations on the Chinese community. But the authorities did more than demon-ize the Chinese; they also marshaled civic resources that promoted sewer construction, vaccination programs, and public health management. Shah shows how Chinese Americans responded to health regulations and allegations with persuasive political speeches, lawsuits, boycotts, violent protests, and poems. Chinese American activists drew upon public health strategies in their advocacy for health services and public housing. Adroitly employing discourses of race and health, these activists argued that Chinese Americans were worthy and deserving of sharing in the resources of American society.

Nayan Shahis Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego and the author ofContagious Divides(UC Press).

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Public Health, Race, and Citizenship
Public Health and the Mapping of Chinatown
Regulating Bodies and Space
Perversity, Contamination, and the Dangers of Queer Domesticity
White Women, Hygiene, and the Struggle for Respectable Domesticity
Plague and Managing the Commercial City
White Labor and the American Standard of Living
Making Medical Borders at Angel Island
Healthy Spaces, Healthy Conduct
Reforming Chinatown
Conclusion: Norms as a Way of Life
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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