Introduction: Infectious Animals and Epidemic Blame
The Introduction to the edited volume summarises the chapters of the volume and discusses their contribution in the context of current historical and anthropological studies of zoonotic and vector-borne disease, with a particular focus on how epidemic blame is articulated in different historical, social and political contexts.
Research leading to this chapter was funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme/ERC grant agreement no. 336564 for the project Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic (University of Cambridge and University of St Andrews). I would like to thank Lukas Engelmann, Nicholas Evans, Branwyn Poleykett, Maurits Meerwijk and Abhijit Sarkar for enduring and stimulating discussions on animals as ‘epidemic villains’ in the course of the project, and the participants of the project’s fourth annual conference, Assembling Epidemics: Disease, Ecology and the (Un)natural, at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Research in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CRASSH) for their contribution to the project’s discussion of this topic. Short passages in the section ‘Disease Spreaders’ of this Introduction were previously published in: Christos Lynteris, ‘Zoonotic Diagrams: Mastering and Unsettling Human-Animal Relations’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute NS 23:3 (July 2017): 463–485.