Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco's Chinatown / Edition 1

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Overview

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 powerful book looks at the history of racial formation in the United States by focusing on the intriguing subject of the development of public health bureaucracies.

Nayan Shah reveals how ethnic differences were constructed and maintained by the modern state. Public health authorities depicted Chinese immigrants as filthy and diseased, as the carriers of such incurable afflictions as smallpox, syphilis, and the bubonic plague. This resulted in the vociferous enforcement of sanitary regulations on Chinese people, residences, and workplaces. Shah shows how Chinese Americans responded to health regulations and allegations with persuasive political speeches, lawsuits, boycotts, violent protests, and poems. 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520226296
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/29/2001
  • Series: American Crossroads Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 398
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nayan Shah is Professor and Chair of the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and the author of Contagious Divides (UC Press).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Public Health, Race, and Citizenship 1
1 Public Health and the Mapping of Chinatown 17
2 Regulating Bodies and Space 45
3 Perversity, Contamination, and the Dangers of Queer Domesticity 77
4 White Women, Hygiene, and the Struggle for Respectable Domesticity 105
5 Plague and Managing the Commercial City 120
6 White Labor and the American Standard of Living 158
7 Making Medical Borders at Angel Island 179
8 Healthy Spaces, Healthy Conduct 204
9 Reforming Chinatown 225
Conclusion: Norms as a Way of Life 251
Notes 259
Bibliography 333
Index 367
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