Epidemic Encounters

Influenza, Society, and Culture in Canada, 1918-20

Edited by Magda Fahrni and Esyllt W. Jones

  • $37.95s paperback (9780774822121) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: February 2013
  • Subject Listing: History, Public Health
  • Bibliographic information: 304 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: U.S. rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

Health crises such as the SARS epidemic and H1N1 have rekindled interest in the 1918 influenza pandemic, which swept the globe in the wake of the First World War and killed approximately 50 million people. Now more than ever, medical, public health, and government officials are looking to the past to help prepare for future emergencies.

Epidemic Encounters zeroes in on Canada, where one-third of the population took ill and fifty-five thousand people died, to consider the various ways in which this country was affected by the pandemic. How did military and medical authorities, health care workers, and ordinary citizens respond? What role did social inequalities play in determining who survived? To answer these questions as they pertained to both local and national contexts, the contributors explore a number of key themes and topics, including the experiences of nurses and Aboriginal peoples, public letter writing in Montreal, the place of the epidemic within industrial modernity, and the relationship between mourning and interwar spiritualism.

The Canadian experience brings to light the complex ways that biology, science, society, and culture intersect in a globalizing world and offers new insight into medical history's usefulness in the struggle against epidemic disease.

Magda Fahrni is an associate professor in the Department of History at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal. Esyllt W. Jones is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Manitoba. Contributors: Francis Dubois, Denis Goulet, D. Ann Herring, Mark Osborne Humphries, Mary-Ellen Kelm, Ellen Korol, Heather MacDougall, Linda Quiney, Karen Slonim, and Jean-Pierre Thouez.