Book Review-‘Quarantine: Local and global histories’ ed. by A. Bashford

By Michael Joseph, published November 2020


Alison Bashford has for many years been among the world’s foremost authorities on the history of quarantine. Quarantine: Local and global histories represents a return to a long-standing interest in the topic, one marked by previous works like Contagion: Historical and cultural Studies (2001), edited with Claire Hooker, and Imperial Hygiene: A critical history of colonialism, nationalism and public health (2004). This latest publication, however, is testament to the ways in which Bashford’s approach to quarantine has evolved away from an earlier focus on borders. The volume emerges from ‘Stories from the Sandstone’, a project which drew together historians, archaeologists and heritage scholars to examine and interpret the inscriptions left by internees at the quarantine station at Sydney’s North Head. Bashford has gathered a selection of contributions from the project’s 2014 conference, to which have been added a number of additional chapters. Part 1, ‘Quarantine Histories in Time and Place’, presents histories of maritime quarantine from the early modern period onwards, although the focus is overwhelmingly on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the shorter part 2, ‘Heritage: Memorialising landscapes of quarantine’, examines how former quarantine sites have been interpreted and reinterpreted as spaces of heritage and memory…

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Filed under: Health at Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea

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