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Necropolis : disease, power, and capitalism in the cotton kingdom

ISBN: 9780674295551
Format: Paperback
Publisher: *Belknap Press
Origin: US
Release Date: May, 2024

Book Details

In antebellum New Orleans, at the heart of America’s slave and cotton kingdoms, epidemics of yellow fever killed as many as 150,000 people. With little understanding of the origins of the illness-and meager public health infrastructure-one’s only hope if infected was to survive, providing the lucky few with a mysterious form of immunity. Repeated epidemics bolstered New Orleans’s strict racial hierarchy by introducing another hierarchy, a form of “immunocapital,” as white survivors leveraged their immunity to pursue economic and political advancement while enslaved Blacks were relegated to the most grueling labor. The question of health-who has it, who doesn’t, and why-is always in part political. Necropolis shows how powerful nineteenth-century Orleanians constructed a society that capitalized on mortal risk and benefited from the chaos that ensued.