The Newsletter 62 Winter 2012

Terminology and the translational ambiguities of public health

Vivek Neelakantan

Reviewed publication:
Leung, Angela K.C. & Charlotte Furth (eds.) 2010. Health and Hygiene in Chinese East Asia: Policies and Publics in the Long Twentieth Century. Durham: Duke University Press.337 pp. ISBN 9780822348269 (paperback).

In this collection, which provides a critical history of Chinese public health during the colonial and post-colonial eras, the authors decentre the nation state in order to critically expatiate the global genealogies of scientifi c practices in interaction with local conditions. Special reference is made to outbreaks of disease such as plague, malaria, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The collection is organised into three main themes, in roughly chronological order: indigenous Chinese notions of disease and cleanliness before the 1911 revolution; colonial health and hygiene in Taiwan under Japanese rule; and, campaigns against epidemics.

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