Knowledge In The Time Of Cholera: The Struggle Over American Medicine In The Nineteenth Century

Hardcover | April 11, 2013

byOwen Whooley

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Vomiting. Diarrhea. Dehydration. Death. Confusion. In 1832, the arrival of cholera in the United States created widespread panic throughout the country. For the rest of the century, epidemics swept through American cities and towns like wildfire, killing thousands. Physicians of all stripes offered conflicting answers to the cholera puzzle, ineffectively responding with opiates, bleeding, quarantines, and all manner of remedies, before the identity of the dreaded infection was consolidated under the germ theory of disease some sixty years later.

These cholera outbreaks raised fundamental questions about medical knowledge and its legitimacy, giving fuel to alternative medical sects that used the confusion of the epidemic to challenge both medical orthodoxy and the authority of the still-new American Medical Association. In Knowledge in the Time of Cholera, Owen Whooley tells us the story of those dark days, centering his narrative on rivalries between medical and homeopathic practitioners and bringing to life the battle to control public understanding of disease, professional power, and democratic governance in nineteenth-century America.

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Vomiting. Diarrhea. Dehydration. Death. Confusion. In 1832, the arrival of cholera in the United States created widespread panic throughout the country. For the rest of the century, epidemics swept through American cities and towns like wildfire, killing thousands. Physicians of all stripes offered conflicting answers to the choler...

Owen Whooley is assistant professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:April 11, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022601746X

ISBN - 13:9780226017464

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Of Cholera, Quacks, and Competing Medical Visions

1 Choleric Confusion
2 The Formation of the AMA, the Creation of Quacks
3 The Intellectual Politics of Filth
4 Cholera Becomes a Microbe
5 Capturing Cholera, and Epistemic Authority, in the Laboratory

Conclusion: Medicine after the Time of Cholera

Appendix: A Comment on Sources

Notes
Reference List
Index

Editorial Reviews

“There are books on the history of cholera, on the laboratory and scientific networks, and on epistemology and science, but none like this one. Owen Whooley has produced a truly original book, an important intervention in science studies, history of medicine, and nineteenth-century American society and culture.”