Afterword of by Thomas Pyketty
Cultures of Contagion recounts episodes in the history of contagions, from ancient times to the twenty-first century. It considers contagion not only in the medical sense but also as a process, a metaphor, and an interpretive model—as a term that describes not only the transmission of a virus but also the propagation of a phenomenon. The authors describe a wide range of social, cultural, political, and anthropological instances through the prism of contagion—from anti-Semitism to migration, from the nuclear contamination of the planet to the violence of Mao's Red Guard.
The book proceeds glossary style, with a series of short texts arranged alphabetically, beginning with an entry on aluminum and “environmental contagion” and ending with a discussion of writing and “textual resemblance” caused by influence, imitation, borrowing, and plagiarism. The authors—leading scholars associated with the Center for Historical Research (CRH, Centre de recherches historiques), Paris—consider such topics as the connection between contagion and suggestion, “waltzmania” in post-Terror Paris, the effect of reading on sensitive imaginations, and the contagiousness of yawning. They take two distinct approaches: either examining contagion and what it signified contemporaneously, or deploying contagion as an interpretive tool. Both perspectives illuminate unexpected connections, unnoticed configurations, and invisible interactions.
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Stéphane Baciocchi, Jean Baumgarten, Pablo A. Blitstein, Olof Bortz, Patrice Bourdelais, Diane Carron, Jean-Pierre Cavaillé, Elizabeth Claire, Yves Cohen, Vincent Debiais, Béatrice Delaurenti, Maria Cecilia D'Ercole, Pierre-Olivier Dittmar, Marie-Élizabeth Ducreux, Catherine Fhima, Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, Nancy L. Green, Benoît Grévin, Sebastian V. Grevsmühl, Florence Hachez-Leroy, Élise Haddad, Marcela Iacub, Thibaut Julian, Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, Thomas Le Roux, Judith Lyon-Caen, Catarina Madeira-Santos, Ariane Mak, Sébastien Malaprade, Perrine Mane, Davide Mano, Niccolò Mignemi, Raphaël Morera, Natalia Muchnik, Ron Naiweld, Sofia Navarro Hernandez, Hugo Perina, Thomas Piketty, Marie Anne Polo de Beaulieu, Dinah Ribard, Suzanne Rochefort, Paul-André Rosental, Antoine Roullet, Sergi Sancho Fibla, Nicolas Sarzeaud, Jean-Claude Schmitt, Silvia Sebastiani, Alessandro Stanziani, Frédéric Vagneron, Sebastian Veg, Mickaël Wilmart.