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Abdel Rahman Ismail’s Tibb al-Rukka and the Nubian Medicine Bundle: Toward Material Histories of Contagion

ʻAbd al-Raḥmān Ismāʻīl, Folk medicine in modern Egypt: being the relevant parts of Tibb al-Rukka, or Old wives medicine, of Abdel Rahman Ismail, trans. John Walker (London: Luzac, 1934).

Gibb Islamic Seminar Library, Harvard University, Gibb 1405.260.

https://hollis.harvard.edu/permalink/f/1mdq5o5/TN_cdi_globaltitleindex_catalog_66022004

 

Bundle of power elements (Nubian medicine bundle),...

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Microscopic Musings: Athanasius Kircher and the Roman Plague of 1656–57

Athanasius Kircher, Scrutinium physico-medicum contagiosae luis, qui pestis dicatur (Typis Mascardi: Romae, 1658).

Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Rare Books, RC171 .K63 c.1.

https://id.lib.harvard.edu/curiosity/contagion/36-990058668780203941

What does the blood of plague-infected bodies look like under a microscope? Since Alexandre Yersin’s and Kitasato Shibasabur­ō’s simultaneous discovery of the plague bacillus in Hong Kong in 1894, we have a very specific answer to this question because we already know what to look for: a rod-shaped anaerobic microorganism known as Yersinia pestis. Photographs show us what this virulent bacillus looks like in blood and tissue samples examined in the laboratory with high-powered instruments.... Read more about Microscopic Musings: Athanasius Kircher and the Roman Plague of 1656–57

Harold Brodkey's Paper Attachments

Introduction

It’s difficult to think of an American novel with a publication history more complicated than Harold Brodkey’s The Runaway Soul (1991). First contracted by Random House in 1964 but unfinished for nearly three decades, the novel—then known under its working title, A Party of Animals—moved between two other publishing houses before its controversial publication under a new name. The publication history of Brodkey’s novel is so labyrinthian that it is at times difficult to know what’s fact and what’s apocryphal, but the following events demarcate the broad lines of the story.... Read more about Harold Brodkey's Paper Attachments

Introduction to the Project

Why Contagion Now?

The problem of contagion—in which diseases are communicated among people and populations—extends across all times, places, and cultures. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the protean nature of contagion and its effects: illness, suffering, and death; strategies to address and reduce its impacts; and innovations in prevention and treatment. While focused on our current dilemma, the pandemic has also generated a wide recognition of the nature of contagion and the fundamental interactions between biology and society.... Read more about Introduction to the Project

John Winthrop’s Lecture on Earthquakes (1755) and “Pestilential Distempers” Caused by Environmental Disruption

John Winthrop, A lecture on earthquakes; Read in the Chapel of Harvard-College in Cambridge, N.E. November 26th 1755. On Occasion of the great earthquake which shook New-England the Week before (Boston: Printed and Sold by Edes & Gill, at their Printing-Office next to the Prison in Queen-Street, 1755)

Harvard University Archives, HUC 8755.295

https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:492898084$1i

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