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Plague Image and Imagination from Medieval to Modern TimesBamboo Dwellers: Plague, Photography, and the House in Colonial Java

Plague Image and Imagination from Medieval to Modern Times: Bamboo Dwellers: Plague, Photography,... [When plague was diagnosed in Java in 1911, Dutch colonial health officials implicated the Javanese house in the transmission of the disease by sheltering and helping to convey infected rats and fleas to human occupants. In particular, their anxieties were drawn towards the bamboo: Java’s principal building material. Hidden within the hollow interior of the bamboo frame of the houses of plague patients, Dutch investigators discovered a proliferation of rat cadavers and rat nests. This physical link within the aetiology of plague underpinned an unprecedented colonial intervention in Java’s built environment—home improvement—and equally invasive attempts to reform Javanese domestic and hygienic practices. Up until and even after the development of an efficacious vaccine in the 1930s, over 1.6 million houses were either renovated or rebuilt, millions more subjected to periodic inspection and countless Javanese exposed to plague propaganda. Drawing on the extensive photographic record of plague in Java, this chapter asks: how did this transformed materiality of the classical ‘plague house’ come about in the Dutch colonial context?] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

Plague Image and Imagination from Medieval to Modern TimesBamboo Dwellers: Plague, Photography, and the House in Colonial Java

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Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021
ISBN
978-3-030-72303-3
Pages
205 –234
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-72304-0_8
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[When plague was diagnosed in Java in 1911, Dutch colonial health officials implicated the Javanese house in the transmission of the disease by sheltering and helping to convey infected rats and fleas to human occupants. In particular, their anxieties were drawn towards the bamboo: Java’s principal building material. Hidden within the hollow interior of the bamboo frame of the houses of plague patients, Dutch investigators discovered a proliferation of rat cadavers and rat nests. This physical link within the aetiology of plague underpinned an unprecedented colonial intervention in Java’s built environment—home improvement—and equally invasive attempts to reform Javanese domestic and hygienic practices. Up until and even after the development of an efficacious vaccine in the 1930s, over 1.6 million houses were either renovated or rebuilt, millions more subjected to periodic inspection and countless Javanese exposed to plague propaganda. Drawing on the extensive photographic record of plague in Java, this chapter asks: how did this transformed materiality of the classical ‘plague house’ come about in the Dutch colonial context?]

Published: Jul 30, 2021

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