Plague and Public Health in Early Modern Seville offers a reassessment of the impact of plague in the early modern era, presenting sixteenth-century Seville as a case study of how municipal officials and residents worked together to create a public health response to epidemics that protected both individual and communal interests. It argues in particular for a redefinition of what "public health" meant in the early modern era, noting the efforts of city officials to protect both individual health and communal welfare as they negotiated a series of balances: between individual and communal needs, between public health and economic needs, between municipal and royal interests. Based on extensive primary sources held in the municipal archive of Seville, the work argues that a careful reading of the records shows a critical difference between how plague regulations were written and how they were enforced, a difference that reflects an unacknowledged process of negotiation aimed at preserving balance within the community. The book makes an important contribution to the scholarly history of epidemics, and in particular to the study of the impact of plague in Spain, which until now has received scant attention from historians. Kristy Wilson Bowers received her PhD from Indiana University and teaches in the History Department at Northern Illinois University.
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