Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative (A John Hope Franklin
by Priscilla Wald
$84.95 List Price
"An outbreak, like a story, should have a coherent plot.” That comment, from a well-known virologist, could easily serve as epigram or foil to Contagious, Priscilla Wald’s critique of the stories that the media and the medical profession have constructed about disease outbreaks from typhoid to HIV/aids to Ebola.
Wald painstakingly places pins in a map of twentieth-century culture, charting the rise of stock characters, settings, and plot twists. The accumulated conventions are on display, she argues, in many outbreak tales from the ’90s—books such as Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone and Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague and films such as Wolfgang Petersen’s Outbreak. In these accounts, we find disease emerging from “primitive” places like Africa. (At the start of Outbreak, the camera pans over the African treetops
… full text available to registered users