New Release Books by Christos Lynteris

Christos Lynteris is the author of Human Extinction and the Pandemic Imaginary (2021), Sulphuric Utopias (2020), Ethnographic Plague (2018) and The Spirit of Selflessness in Maoist China (2012).

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Human Extinction and the Pandemic Imaginary

release date: Apr 01, 2021
Human Extinction and the Pandemic Imaginary
This book develops an examination and critique of human extinction as a result of the ''next pandemic'' and turns attention towards the role of pandemic catastrophe in the renegotiation of what it means to be human. Nested in debates in anthropology, philosophy, social theory and global health, the book argues that fear of and fascination with the ''next pandemic'' stem not so much from an anticipation of a biological extinction of the human species, as from an expectation of the loss of mastery over human/non-humanl relations. Christos Lynteris employs the notion of the ''pandemic imaginary'' in order to understand the way in which pandemic-borne human extinction refashions our understanding of humanity and its place in the world. The book challenges us to think how cosmological, aesthetic, ontological and political aspects of pandemic catastrophe are intertwined. The chapters examine the vital entanglement of epidemiological studies, popular culture, modes of scientific visualisation, and pandemic preparedness campaigns. This volume will be relevant for scholars and advanced students of anthropology as well as global health, and for many others interested in catastrophe, the ''end of the world'' and the (post)apocalyptic.

Sulphuric Utopias

release date: Mar 31, 2020
Sulphuric Utopias
How early twentieth century fumigation technologies transformed maritime quarantine practices and inspired utopian visions of disease-free global trade. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, fumigation technologies transformed global practices of maritime quarantine through chemical and engineering innovation. One of these technologies, the widely used Clayton machine, blasted sulphuric acid gas through a docked ship in an effort to eliminate pathogens, insects, and rats while leaving the cargo and the structure of the vessel unharmed, shortening its time in quarantine and minimizing the risk of importing infectious diseases. In Sulphuric Utopias, Lukas Engelmann and Christos Lynteris examine this overlooked but historically crucial practice at the intersection of epidemiology, hygiene, applied chemistry, and engineering. They show how maritime fumigation inspired utopian visions of disease-free trade to improve global shipping and to encourage universally applicable standards of sanitation and hygiene. Engelmann and Lynteris chart the history of ideas about fumigation, disinfection, and quarantine, and chronicle the development of the Clayton machine in 1880s New Orleans. Built by the Louisiana Board of Health and adapted and patented by Thomas Clayton, the machine offered a barrier against bacteria and pests and enabled a highway to global trade. Engelmann and Lynteris chronicle the Clayton machine''s success and examine its competitors, including carbon-based fumigation methods in Germany and the Ottoman Empire as well as the “Sulfurozador” in Argentina. They follow the international standardization of maritime fumigation and explore the Clayton machine''s decline after World War I, when visions of “sulphuric utopia” were replaced by a pragmatic acknowledgment of epidemiological complexity.

Ethnographic Plague

release date: Jun 10, 2018
Ethnographic Plague
Challenging the concept that since the discovery of the plague bacillus in 1894 the study of the disease was dominated by bacteriology, Ethnographic Plague argues for the role of ethnography as a vital contributor to the configuration of plague at the turn of the nineteenth century. With a focus on research on the Chinese-Russian frontier, where a series of pneumonic plague epidemics shook the Chinese, Russian and Japanese Empires, this book examines how native Mongols and Buryats came to be understood as holding a traditional knowledge of the disease. Exploring the forging and consequences of this alluring theory, this book seeks to understand medical fascination with culture, so as to underline the limitations of the employment of the latter as an explanatory category in the context of infectious disease epidemics, such as the recent SARS and Ebola outbreaks.

The Spirit of Selflessness in Maoist China

release date: Oct 30, 2012
The Spirit of Selflessness in Maoist China
Assuming power in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party was faced with a crucial problem: how to construct the socialist ''New Man''? On the one hand, led by Liu Shaoqi, the proponents of the technocracy advocated self-cultivation. Led by Mao Zedong, their opponents advocated the exact opposite technique: the abolition of the self and the institution of a mass subjectivity. Examining this conflict through the analytical lens of Foucault''s ''technologies of the self'' and in relation to biopolitics, the book explores how the battle for the self in Maoist China revolved around the interpretation of the ''spirit of selflessness'' as embodied by the heroic Canadian doctor, Norman Bethune, who lost his life as a volunteer doctor of the Red Army. The book narrates how, called to embody this selfless spirit, medical doctors were trapped in a spiral between cultivation and abolition, leading to the explosion of ideology during the Cultural Revolution.
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