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ANT 4532: Anthropology of Infectious and Contagious Diseases

This guide is intended to lead you to the appropriate library sources useful for your research.


By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Locate Subject Guides useful for your research
  • Locate images and information about diseases 
  • Locate literature about diseases (LION, etc.)

Subject Guides

Finding Representations of Disease, Death and Dying in Art and Literature

When seeking artistic and literary representations of infectious and contagious diseases, it is important to consider the social and historical context of the disease as well as the terminology used to describe certain conditons. For example, a number of illnesses prevalent during the 18th and 19th centuries have been eliminated or eradicated and some may now be referred to by different names.

Below is a brief example of diseases or conditions and the era with which they are commonly associated:

  • 19th century: cholera, consumption (tuberculosis), convulsions (epilepsy), smallpox (variola)
  • 20th century: chicken pox (varicella), measles (rubella), influenza, HIV/AIDS
  • 21st century: Ebola (hemorrhagic fever)

There are many more! Medical dictionaries, such as Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, and resources like the Oxford English Dictionary can help you identify relevant diseases, appropriate terminology, and disease etiology and symptoms.