Histories and Narratives of Yellow Fever in Latin America

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter debates the historiographical perspectives that have dominated historical narratives of yellow fever in Latin America. Almost invariably, historians have assumed that past accounts of yellow fever refer to the same yellow fever that historians know and understand according to modern medicine. We identify the development of medical bacteriology as the watershed between old ideas and the new path that led to current notions of the fever – as caused by a microorganism, a virus. But no matter how we intend to historicize medical notions about the fever, most of us have actually avoided questions about what did ‘vômito preto’, black vomit, yellow fever or periodic fevers of the yellow fever variety refer to, according to contemporaries’ interpretations and worldviews. The historiography of yellow fever in Latin America conveys the assumption that when historians nd these terms in documents produced by doctors and policy-makers at any moment or location, those expressions refer invariably to one and the same yellow fever: acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and distinguishable thanks to salient symptoms such as jaundice, black vomit and fever. The unintended consequence of this apparently unproblematic decision is that we ignore one of the fundamental questions related to studying diseases historically: the contentious character of medical knowledge, hence of the things designated by it. The aim of this chapter is to analyse the historiographical approach to yellow fever, particularly the one that takes for granted current medical knowledge and performs retrospective diagnosis – an approach that could be named presentism in the historiography of yellow fever.1 The varied narratives that have been produced from such a standpoint are summarized here. Finally, a brief exposition of some of the perspectives and themes that could help us to circumvent such presentism is discussed in the last part of this chapter.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge History of Disease
EditorsMark Jackson
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter13
Pages1-18
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781134857944
StatePublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Latin America
Yellow Fever
History
Fever
Historian
Medical Knowledge
Historiography
Presentism
Bacteriology
Doctors
Salient
Medicine
Microorganisms
Virus
Exposition
Politicians
Historical Narrative
World View
Fundamental

Cite this

García, M. (2017). Histories and Narratives of Yellow Fever in Latin America. In M. Jackson (Ed.), Routledge History of Disease (pp. 1-18). Routledge.
García, Mónica. / Histories and Narratives of Yellow Fever in Latin America. Routledge History of Disease. editor / Mark Jackson. Routledge, 2017. pp. 1-18
@inbook{1d9bfb90d7fc4eb592650b5fadcb33cb,
title = "Histories and Narratives of Yellow Fever in Latin America",
abstract = "This chapter debates the historiographical perspectives that have dominated historical narratives of yellow fever in Latin America. Almost invariably, historians have assumed that past accounts of yellow fever refer to the same yellow fever that historians know and understand according to modern medicine. We identify the development of medical bacteriology as the watershed between old ideas and the new path that led to current notions of the fever – as caused by a microorganism, a virus. But no matter how we intend to historicize medical notions about the fever, most of us have actually avoided questions about what did ‘v{\^o}mito preto’, black vomit, yellow fever or periodic fevers of the yellow fever variety refer to, according to contemporaries’ interpretations and worldviews. The historiography of yellow fever in Latin America conveys the assumption that when historians nd these terms in documents produced by doctors and policy-makers at any moment or location, those expressions refer invariably to one and the same yellow fever: acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and distinguishable thanks to salient symptoms such as jaundice, black vomit and fever. The unintended consequence of this apparently unproblematic decision is that we ignore one of the fundamental questions related to studying diseases historically: the contentious character of medical knowledge, hence of the things designated by it. The aim of this chapter is to analyse the historiographical approach to yellow fever, particularly the one that takes for granted current medical knowledge and performs retrospective diagnosis – an approach that could be named presentism in the historiography of yellow fever.1 The varied narratives that have been produced from such a standpoint are summarized here. Finally, a brief exposition of some of the perspectives and themes that could help us to circumvent such presentism is discussed in the last part of this chapter.",
author = "M{\'o}nica Garc{\'i}a",
year = "2017",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9781134857944",
pages = "1--18",
editor = "Mark Jackson",
booktitle = "Routledge History of Disease",
publisher = "Routledge",
address = "United Kingdom",

}

García, M 2017, Histories and Narratives of Yellow Fever in Latin America. in M Jackson (ed.), Routledge History of Disease. Routledge, pp. 1-18.

Histories and Narratives of Yellow Fever in Latin America. / García, Mónica.

Routledge History of Disease. ed. / Mark Jackson. Routledge, 2017. p. 1-18.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

TY - CHAP

T1 - Histories and Narratives of Yellow Fever in Latin America

AU - García, Mónica

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - This chapter debates the historiographical perspectives that have dominated historical narratives of yellow fever in Latin America. Almost invariably, historians have assumed that past accounts of yellow fever refer to the same yellow fever that historians know and understand according to modern medicine. We identify the development of medical bacteriology as the watershed between old ideas and the new path that led to current notions of the fever – as caused by a microorganism, a virus. But no matter how we intend to historicize medical notions about the fever, most of us have actually avoided questions about what did ‘vômito preto’, black vomit, yellow fever or periodic fevers of the yellow fever variety refer to, according to contemporaries’ interpretations and worldviews. The historiography of yellow fever in Latin America conveys the assumption that when historians nd these terms in documents produced by doctors and policy-makers at any moment or location, those expressions refer invariably to one and the same yellow fever: acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and distinguishable thanks to salient symptoms such as jaundice, black vomit and fever. The unintended consequence of this apparently unproblematic decision is that we ignore one of the fundamental questions related to studying diseases historically: the contentious character of medical knowledge, hence of the things designated by it. The aim of this chapter is to analyse the historiographical approach to yellow fever, particularly the one that takes for granted current medical knowledge and performs retrospective diagnosis – an approach that could be named presentism in the historiography of yellow fever.1 The varied narratives that have been produced from such a standpoint are summarized here. Finally, a brief exposition of some of the perspectives and themes that could help us to circumvent such presentism is discussed in the last part of this chapter.

AB - This chapter debates the historiographical perspectives that have dominated historical narratives of yellow fever in Latin America. Almost invariably, historians have assumed that past accounts of yellow fever refer to the same yellow fever that historians know and understand according to modern medicine. We identify the development of medical bacteriology as the watershed between old ideas and the new path that led to current notions of the fever – as caused by a microorganism, a virus. But no matter how we intend to historicize medical notions about the fever, most of us have actually avoided questions about what did ‘vômito preto’, black vomit, yellow fever or periodic fevers of the yellow fever variety refer to, according to contemporaries’ interpretations and worldviews. The historiography of yellow fever in Latin America conveys the assumption that when historians nd these terms in documents produced by doctors and policy-makers at any moment or location, those expressions refer invariably to one and the same yellow fever: acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and distinguishable thanks to salient symptoms such as jaundice, black vomit and fever. The unintended consequence of this apparently unproblematic decision is that we ignore one of the fundamental questions related to studying diseases historically: the contentious character of medical knowledge, hence of the things designated by it. The aim of this chapter is to analyse the historiographical approach to yellow fever, particularly the one that takes for granted current medical knowledge and performs retrospective diagnosis – an approach that could be named presentism in the historiography of yellow fever.1 The varied narratives that have been produced from such a standpoint are summarized here. Finally, a brief exposition of some of the perspectives and themes that could help us to circumvent such presentism is discussed in the last part of this chapter.

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9781134857944

SP - 1

EP - 18

BT - Routledge History of Disease

A2 - Jackson, Mark

PB - Routledge

ER -

García M. Histories and Narratives of Yellow Fever in Latin America. In Jackson M, editor, Routledge History of Disease. Routledge. 2017. p. 1-18