Posts Tagged ‘ covid ’

Price V. Fishback on Werner Troesken’s “The Pox of Liberty” and Our Current Tradeoffs between Quarantines and Economic Freedom

April 21, 2020
By

Economist and Press author Price V. Fishback shared with us recently his thoughts on a previous Press book that speaks to our current situation and looks at the political and economic history of how the US government has responded to other pandemics. The current crisis has brought into focus the tradeoffs between quarantines and economic freedom.  For an excellent book about the history of these tradeoffs in the United States, read Werner Troesken’s The Pox of Liberty:  How the Constitution Left Americans Rich, Free, and Prone to Infection (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Werner traces the history of how governments at all levels of the American federal system dealt with three deadly and recurring diseases:  smallpox, yellow fever, and typhoid. All of the issues the world is facing today to avoid horrid deaths are discussed in Werner’s book:  inadequate testing, the absence of vaccines, attempts to develop vaccines, tradeoffs between economic losses and quarantines, the uncertainties that the disease might return in the future, and inadequate medical facilities.  The situations developed in the nineteenth-century societies when there were much higher death rates, lower incomes, and at best rudimentary medical care.  In his preface, Werner says that he started out trying to . . .

Read more »

Zachary Dorner, author of “Merchants of Medicine,” on the Coronavirus and Black Americans

April 15, 2020
By

The death of black Americans due to coronavirus at a disproportionately high rate recalls the ways differential mortality reflects and has shaped ideas of inherent bodily difference in the past. Zachary Dorner discusses this connection using ideas and examples from his book Merchants of Medicines: The Commerce and Coercion of Health in Britain’s Long Eighteenth Century (available in May). Data recently collected by The Washington Post (link) point to stark disparities in morbidity and mortality during the current pandemic between black and white Americans. While upsetting, such a finding does not come as a particular surprise to a historian of medicine and empire. (Nor, for that matter, does it to scholars of race or to people whose lived experience is one of unequal health). Such health outcomes are often the result, intended and not, of longstanding policies and practices used to construct the economic and political realities we live with today. Notably, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has attributed his own cardiovascular issues, and therefore susceptibility to the virus, to the “legacy of growing up poor and black in America.” Structural disparities not only contribute to disparate health outcomes as starkly demonstrated this year by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but historically . . .

Read more »

A Message from University of Chicago Press Director Garrett Kiely

March 31, 2020
By

As of April 13, the Chicago Distribution Center (CDC) has reopened and is processing and fulfilling orders normally. The decision to reopen the CDC was made after close consultation with Press and University leadership to find a solution that puts concerns for the health and safety of CDC staff at the center. The CDC will be operating for as long as necessary with a reduced staff and in adherence to strict safety guidelines. We are glad to be able to return to the work of supporting our community of readers and our partners, including students, booksellers, libraries, and scholarly institutions. We appreciate your patience and support during this challenging time.  The coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to our lives. But what has not changed during this challenging time is our belief in the power of books and scholarship to both inform and comfort, and our dedication to the many constituencies—authors, students, professors, client publishers, libraries, society partners, and bookstores—who share this publishing landscape with us.   While our distribution center is temporarily closed out of concern for the health of our staff and community, we are working closely with libraries and universities to expand student access to vital digital course books and journal articles (an updated list of resources is available here). We are also making as many of our books as . . .

Read more »

Search for books and authors