The Conquest of Woolsorters' Disease (Industrial Anthrax) That Never Happened

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Title: The Conquest of Woolsorters' Disease (Industrial Anthrax) That Never Happened
Author: Collier, Sarah Elizabeth
Advisors: David Zonderman, Committee Member
William Kimler, Committee Chair
Lauren Minsky, Committee Member
Abstract: This thesis will examine the triumph over anthrax that never really happened. In the history of diseases and medicine, Triumphalism or the triumphal story is a common genre of historical writing. At first glance, it may seem as if the standard triumphal story applies to the history of anthrax. Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur, the heroes of bacteriology, made their major discoveries in anthrax in the 1870s and 1880s. Then, John Henry Bell's work in the Bradford wool mills in England created a practical application of Koch and Pasteur's findings. Bell makes his recommendations to the British government, and the story is over. The disease is understood, and thus there is a medical standard to follow. But it is doubtful that there will be very many more cases because science and medicine have solved the problem. Unfortunately, this narrative is just too simple, and in this thesis, I will show how anthrax does not fit into the mold of a triumphal story and is, instead, a story about an industrial disease from the beginning using outbreaks and legislation that manifested after Koch, Pasteur, and Bell made their breakthroughs in the 1880s.
Date: 2007-06-12
Degree: MA
Discipline: History
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/2391


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