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April 14, 2010


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thanks for posting this. it's related to my own research as well (19th century public health), but I don't think the terms "public", "population" and "community" are used in the same sense in 19th century American public health. But its definitely good reading for thinking about such questions.

Hi Ruth,

We should talk -- 19th c. American public health is definitely part of my research agenda (I'm particularly interested in evolving conceptions of public health causality, such as the social determinants of health, and attitudes, practices, and beliefs along these themes in the 19th c.)

And I agree completely that contemporary meanings of "public" and "population" would have been understood very differently in the 19th c. Maybe less in the US than in Europe, but the term "population" had very strong Malthusian overtones, IMO. And the whole idea of social action in the name of public health would have been understood differently.


Thanks for reading and commenting!

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