Plague, Fear, and Politics in San Francisco's Chinatown

ISBN-10: 1421405105
ISBN-13: 9781421405100
Edition: 2012
Authors: Guenter B. Risse
List price: $42.95 Buy it from $16.48
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Description: People and bubonic plague have a long and tragic history. When health officials in San Francisco thought they discovered plague in their city's Chinatown in 1900, they responded with intrusive, controlling, and arbitrary measures that touched off a  More...

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Book details

List price: $42.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 3/14/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 392
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.606
Language: English

People and bubonic plague have a long and tragic history. When health officials in San Francisco thought they discovered plague in their city's Chinatown in 1900, they responded with intrusive, controlling, and arbitrary measures that touched off a sociocultural clash still relevant today. Guenter B. Risse's history of this epidemic features the tale of desperately ill Wong Chut King, believed to be the initial person infected, and is the first to incorporate the voices of those living in Chinatown at the time.Lasting until 1904, the plague in San Francisco's Chinatown reignited racial prejudices, re-sparked efforts to remove the Chinese from their district, and created new tensions among local, state, and federal public health officials quarreling over the presence of the deadly disease. Risse's rich, nuanced narrative of the event draws from a variety of sources, including Chinese-language news reports and other accounts. He addresses the ecology of Chinatown, the approaches taken by Chinese and Western medical practitioners, and the effects of quarantine plans on Chinatown and its residents. Risse explains how the presence of plague threatened California's agricultural economy and San Francisco's leading commercial role with Asia, discusses why it brought on a wave of fear mongering that drove perceptions and intervention efforts, and describes how Chinese residents organized and successfully opposed government quarantines and evacuation plans in federal court. In probing public health interventions in the context of one of the most visible ethnic communities in United States history, Plague, Fear, and Politics in San Francisco's Chinatown offers insight into the clash of Eastern and Western cultures in a time of medical emergency.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Before Plague
The People of Tang in San Francisco
A Migrant from Taishan
Framing Chinese Space
Lifestyles and Governance
Politics and Violence
Guarding Life and the Way of Death
Wong's Illness and Folk Religion
Cultivating Vitality
Shelters and Dispensaries
Corpses and Bones
Sanitation, Microbes, and Plague
Issuing Death Certificates
From Miasma to Germs
Sanitation in Chinatown
Third Plague Pandemic
The Final Diagnosis
Officials, Mandarins, and the Press
San Francisco and Its Health Officials
The Lords of Chinatown
Partner or Foe? The Governor and the State Health Board
"Warriors of Epidemics": The Marine Hospital Service
"Playing with Ink": Western and Chinese Journalism in San Francisco
Plague
Early Scenes of Terror: March-June 1900
Roping Chinatown: First Plague Diagnosis and Quarantine
New Deaths: Searches, Vaccinations, and Fear of Detention
"Wolf Doctors" Hunt for Plague
Turmoil: Another Quarantine and a Federal Lawsuit
The Siege Continues: June-December 1900
Federal Quarantine of California: A Political Blunder
Valuable Real Estate: Planning Chinatown's Removal
Plague Diagnoses: A Quarrel between Experts
Tarnished Image: Plague, Boxers, and Reformers
Plague Goes Underground: 1901
Expert Opinion: Adventures of a Federal Commission
Persona Non Grate: The Ouster of Kinyoun
Odd Bedfellows: The Federal, State, and City Cleanup
Hide and Seek: Tracking Sick and Dead Chinese Residents
Rumors and Realities: 1902
San Francisco Stand-off: Mayor versus Health Board
No Plague: "Ostrich" Policies under Fire
Federal Officials Target People and Rats
"Beating the Tiger": A Mandarin's Downfall
National Threat: 1903
Is San Francisco Infected? Health Conferences and Railroads
Leaders under Pressure: A Shift in Health Policies
Real Estate and the Plan to Raze Chinatown
Chinese Cooperation: Joint Sanitary Inspections
Sanitarians Claim Victory: 1904-1905
Puppet Show: San Francisco's New Health Board
Dawn of a Public Health Fraternity
Targeting Rats: Poisons and Demolitions
The Oriental City Project
Pyrrhic Victory
Epilogue
San Francisco Plague Cases
Notes
Index

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