Plague masks : the visual emergence of anti-epidemic personal protection equipment
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Often described as “masks” face-worn devices are employed as personal protection equipment by health workers and the general public and considered to be an indispensable technology against epidemics. Simultaneously, they are potent symbols of existential risk. Could these material and visual aspects be more than simply indexically connected? In this article, I examine these apparatuses through a historical anthropological approach of their invention during the 1910–11 Manchurian plague outbreak. Arguing that they should be taken seriously as masks, I demonstrate that their emergence was rooted in their configuration as transformative agents of medical reason.
Lynteris , C 2018 , ' Plague masks : the visual emergence of anti-epidemic personal protection equipment ' Medical Anthropology , vol. 37 , pp. 442-457 . DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2017.1423072
Copyright © 2018 Christos Lynteris. Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
DescriptionResearch leading to this paper was funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant (under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme/ERC grant agreement no 336564)
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