History 2021 Seminar I The Madras Plague | Shiv Nadar University
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History 2021 Seminar I The Madras Plague

The Madras Plague: The Making of an ‘immune’ City

Aditya Ramesh,

Presidential Fellow, History, Manchester Environmental Research Institute

University of Manchester

In 1912, the Lancet published an article titled ‘The City of Madras and its immunity from epidemic plague’. The Lancet’s article was part of a short spate of investigations by sanitary officials, bacteriologists, and epidemiologists into the reasons as to why the city, and the province of Madras presidency at large, especially the coastal districts, remained largely free from the plague pandemic, which hit British India especially hard in the latter half of the 1890s. The absent epidemic in Madras, this paper argues, raises three issues. First, how do particular urban environments impact investigations into the nature of epidemics? Second, the nature of plague investigation in Madras destabilized the plague, a disease that Indians only responded to, typically by rebelling. Third, the paper is an attempt to move away from the epicentre of the epidemic in India, namely Bombay, and speaks to the vastness of the plague archive which yet remains unexplored.

Event Date: 
Thursday, October 14, 2021 -
17:0018:15
Thursday 14, Oct 2021
05:00 PM - 06:15 PM

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