Cholera revolts: a class struggle we may not like

Cohn Jr, S. K. (2017) Cholera revolts: a class struggle we may not like. Social History, 42(2), pp. 162-180. (doi: 10.1080/03071022.2017.1290365)

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Few have studied cholera revolts comparatively, and certainly not over the vast terrain from Asiatic Russia to Quebec or across time from the first European cholera wave of the 1830s to the twentieth century. Scholars have instead concentrated on the first European cholera wave in the 1830s and have tended to explain cholera’s social violence within the political contexts of individual nations, despite these riots raging across vast differences in political landscapes from Czarist Russia to New York City but with similar fears and conspiracy theories of elites inventing cholera to cull populations of the poor. Moreover, the history of cholera’s social toxins runs against present generalizations on why epidemics spawn blame and violence against others. Cholera riots continued, and in Italy and Russia became geographically more widespread, vicious, and destructive long after the disease had lost its mystery. The article then poses the question of why historians on the left have not studied the class struggles provoked by cholera, with riots of 10,000, murdering state officials and doctors, destroying hospitals, town halls, and in the case of Donetsk, an entire city. Finally, the article draws parallels between Europe’s cholera experiences and those in West Africa with Ebola in 2014.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cohn, Professor Samuel
Authors: Cohn Jr, S. K.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Social History
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1470-1200
Published Online:19 April 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Taylor and Francis
First Published:First published in Social History 42(2):162-180
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
639041Epidemics: Waves of disease, waves of hate, from the Plague of Athens to AIDSSamuel CohnLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHULME)MRF-2013-068HU - HISTORY