Thomas D’haeninck
,
Jan Vandersmissen
,
Gita Deneckere
, and
Christophe Verbruggen

Eijkman connect to the leitmotivs of this chapter. We argue that the emergence of public healthcare in Belgium cannot be seen apart from cross-border exchanges, scientific innovations, social reform ambitions but also inter- and intra-imperial dynamics. Although Belgian history of medicine and public health is clearly intertwined with dynamics that go beyond the borders of states

in Medical histories of Belgium

Urban transformations and public health in the emergent city examines how urban health and wellbeing are shaped by migration, mobility, racism, sanitation and gender. Adopting a global focus, spanning Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, the essays in this volume bring together a wide selection of voices that explore the interface between social, medical and natural sciences. This interdisciplinary approach, moving beyond traditional approaches to urban research, offers a unique perspective on today’s cities and the challenges they face. Edited by Professor Michael Keith and Dr Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos, this volume also features contributions from leading thinkers on cities in Brazil, China, South Africa and the United Kingdom. This geographic diversity is matched by the breadth of their different fields, from mental health and gendered violence to sanitation and food systems. Together, they present a complex yet connected vision of a ‘new biopolitics’ in today’s metropolis, one that requires an innovative approach to urban scholarship regardless of geography or discipline. This volume, featuring chapters from a number of renowned authors including the former deputy mayor of Rio de Janeiro Luiz Eduardo Soares, is an important resource for anyone seeking to better understand the dynamics of urban change. With its focus on the everyday realities of urban living, from health services to public transport, it contains valuable lessons for academics, policy makers and practitioners alike.

What Lessons Can Be Drawn from Case Studies in France, the United States and Madagascar?
Hugo Carnell

Introduction Plague is a disease which most lay observers would associate with history, rather than modern public health. Looming particularly large in any general understanding are the estimated 75–200 million people that were killed in Europe, Asia and North Africa during the Black Death of the fourteenth century. However, plague outbreaks occurred continuously across Europe until the end of the seventeenth century, and the most recent plague

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Mass vaccination and the public since the Second World War
Author:

Vaccinating Britain investigates the relationship between the British public and vaccination policy since 1945. It is the first book to examine British vaccination policy across the post-war period and covers a range of vaccines, providing valuable context and insight for those interested in historical or present-day public health policy debates. Drawing on government documents, newspapers, internet archives and medical texts it shows how the modern vaccination system became established and how the public played a key role in its formation. British parents came to accept vaccination as a safe, effective and cost-efficient preventative measure. But occasional crises showed that faith in the system was tied to contemporary concerns about the medical profession, the power of the state and attitudes to individual vaccines. Thus, at times the British public demanded more comprehensive vaccination coverage from the welfare state; at others they eschewed specific vaccines that they thought were dangerous or unnecessary. Moreover, they did not always act uniformly, with “the public” capable of expressing contradictory demands that were often at odds with official policy. This case study of Britain’s vaccination system provides insight into the relationship between the British public and the welfare state, as well as contributing to the historiography of public health and medicine.

France and its war dead in 1914 and 1915
Adrien Douchet
,
Taline Garibian
, and
Benoît Pouget

The aim of this article is to shed light on the conditions under which the funerary management of human remains was carried out by the French authorities during the early years of the First World War. It seeks to understand how the urgent need to clear the battlefield as quickly as possible came into conflict with the aspiration to give all deceased an individualised, or at the very least dignified, burial. Old military funerary practices were overturned and reconfigured to incorporate an ideal that sought the individual identification of citizen soldiers. The years 1914–15 were thus profoundly marked by a clash between the pragmatism of public health authorities obsessed with hygiene, the infancy of emerging forensic science, the aching desire of the nation to see its children buried individually and various political and military imperatives related to the conduct of the war.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
The manifold materialities of human remains
Claudia Fonseca
and
Rodrigo Grazinoli Garrido

In this article we explore the relational materiality of fragments of human cadavers used to produce DNA profiles of the unidentified dead at a forensic genetics police laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. Our point of departure is an apparently simple problem: how to discard already tested materials in order to open up physical space for incoming tissue samples. However, during our study we found that transforming human tissues and bone fragments into disposable trash requires a tremendous institutional investment of energy, involving negotiations with public health authorities, criminal courts and public burial grounds. The dilemma confronted by the forensic genetic lab suggests not only how some fragments are endowed with more personhood than others, but also how the very distinction between human remains and trash depends on a patchwork of multiple logics that does not necessarily perform according to well-established or predictable scripts.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Arely Cruz-Santiago
and
Ernesto Schwartz-Marin

COVID-19 has reinstated the sovereign enclosures of corpse management that mothers of the disappeared had so successfully challenged in the past decade. To explore how moral duties toward the dead are being renegotiated due to COVID-19, this article puts forward the notion of biorecuperation, understood as an individualised form of forensic care for the dead made possible by the recovery of biological material. Public health imperatives that forbid direct contact with corpses due to the pandemic, interrupt the logics of biorecuperation. Our analysis is based on ten years of experience working with families of the disappeared in Mexico, ethnographic research within Mexico’s forensic science system and online interviews conducted with medics and forensic scientists working at the forefront of Mexico City’s pandemic. In the face of increasing risks of viral contagion and death, this article analyses old and new techniques designed to bypass the prohibitions imposed by the state and its monopoly over corpse management and identification.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Presumed black immunity to yellow fever and the racial politics of burial labour in 1855 Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia
Michael D. Thompson

Epidemic disease regularly tore through nineteenth-century American cities, triggering public health crises and economic upheaval. These epidemic panics also provoked new racialised labour regimes, affecting the lives of innumerable working people. During yellow fever outbreaks, white authorities and employers preferred workers of colour over ‘unacclimated’ white immigrants, reflecting a common but mistaken belief in black invulnerability. This article chronicles enslaved burial labourers in antebellum Virginia, who leveraged this notion to seize various privileges – and nearly freedom. These episodes demonstrate that black labour, though not always black suffering or lives, mattered immensely to white officials managing these urban crises. Black workers were not mere tools for protecting white wealth and health, however, as they often risked torment and death to capitalise on employers’ desperation for their essential labour. This history exposes racial and socioeconomic divergence between those able to shelter or flee from infection, and those compelled to remain exposed and exploitable.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Phoebe Shambaugh
and
Bertrand Taithe

role of ongoing knowledge production in biomedical and public health fields as defining features of the pandemic response. However, his analysis highlights the importance of social factors, notably ‘the intersections of questions of race, class and power with public health interventions’ as key mediators in the success of health responses. Questions of biopolitics and power loom over the discussions of public health interventions, especially in the call to consider the possibility of a plague

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Lessons Learned from an Intervention by Médecins Sans Frontières
Maria Ximena Di Lollo
,
Elena Estrada Cocina
,
Francisco De Bartolome Gisbert
,
Raquel González Juarez
, and
Ana Garcia Mingo

stakeholders to improve the situation in care homes. People-Centred Approach While working in the care homes MSF saw first-hand the tragedy and the ethical dilemmas the key workers were facing. Such dilemmas included whether to preserve hospital capacities for those who were most likely to survive (i.e. younger people) versus prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable (i.e. older people), or prioritising public health measures to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs