Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust

A World History of Silicosis
  • Noel Counihan, The cough…stone dust, 1947 © Estate of Noel CounihanNoel Counihan, The cough…stone dust, 1947 © Estate of Noel Counihan

There is a renewed interest among historians in occupational diseases, “biopolitics”, political economy and social movements. Yet to date there is no academic book exploring the history of silicosis – a disease whose history raises important issues in all of these areas – from a truly transnational perspective. The existing literature is either entirely national in focus, or else collections of separate national monographs.

Dust to Dust: a World History of Silicosis, directed by Paul-André Rosental, will soon fill this important gap in the historiography. Focusing on the history of silicosis since the 19th century, it is the outcome of an experiment in the collective writing of world history. It is the fruit of a collaboration between a distinguished team of social, economic and public health historians, and two physicians. They are specialists in eleven countries located on five continents.

The manuscript, which has been accepted by the Johns Hopkins University Press and will soon be published, combines transnational and comparative history with in-depth archival knowledge of the different countries covered. Rather than a collection of separate national essays, the chapters are fully integrated and provide both breadth and depth in their global coverage of silicosis.

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