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Contagious Divides Epidemics and Race in San Francisco's Chinatown

by Nayan Shah

  • ISBN: 9780520226289
  • ISBN10: 0520226283

Contagious Divides Epidemics and Race in San Francisco's Chinatown

by Nayan Shah

  • List Price: $60.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of California Pr
  • Publish date: 10/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780520226289
  • ISBN10: 0520226283
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Description: 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 book looks at the history of racial formation in the U.S. by focusing on the development of public health bureaucracies.

Nayan Shah notes how the production of Chinese difference and white, heterosexual norms in public health policy affected social lives, politics, and cultural expression. Public health authorities depicted Chinese immigrants as filthy and diseased, as the carriers of such incurable afflictions as smallpox, syphilis, and bubonic plague. This resulted in the vociferous enforcement of sanitary regulations on the Chinese community. But the authorities did more than demonize the Chinese; they also marshaled civic resources that promoted sewer construction, vaccination programs, and public health management.

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