Mechanical Freak Presents... The White Plague

ByMary Anne Henderson, Brian Platt

While we can’t exactly footnote an episode, we can offer you a bibliography of all the books and articles we touch on in the episode. These references, are organized by topic and by when they are touched on in the show. So, without further ado, the freaks present to you:

Tuberculosis as a 19th Century Fad

John Keats, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci"

Moulin Rouge was based on La Dame aux Camélias (1848) and La bohème (1895)

Tuberculosis as a Disease of 19 th Century Capitalism

Friederich Engels, "The Condition of the Working Class in England"

Karl Marx, "Capital Vol. 1"

The Politics of Disease and Science

RC Lewontin, Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA

Rene and Jean Dubos, The White Plague: Tuberculosis, Man and Society

RC Lewontin, "The Politics of Science," The New York Review of Books, 5/9/2002

Steven Rose, "The Limits to Science," Jacobin, 5/2/2018

Spread of Capitalism and Disease Around the World

Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World

Joshua Horn, Away With All Pests: An English Surgeon in People’s China, 1954-1969

Capitalism and its Fears of Urbanization

Sven Beckert, The Monied Metropolis: New York and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850-1896

HG Wells, The Time Machine

In the Traveller’s description of the Eloi and the Morlocks, he sums up the paranoia around degeneracy and race suicide that marked urbanization for the capitalist class.

“At first, proceeding from the problems of our own age, it seemed clear… that the gradual widening of the present merely temporary and social difference between the Capitalist and the Labourer, was the key to the whole position… Industry had gradually lost its birthright in the sky. I mean that it had gone deeper and deeper into larger and ever larger underground factories, spending a still-increasing amount of its time therein… Again, the exclusive tendency of richer people—due, no doubt, to the increasing refinement of their education, and the widening gulf between them and the rude violence of the poor—is already leading to the closing, in their interest, of considerable portions of the surface of the land [meaning physical class segregation –au.]… And this same widening gulf… will make the exchange between class and class, that promotion by intermarriage which at present retards the splitting of our species along lines of social stratification, less and less frequent. So, in the end, above ground you must have the Haves, pursuing pleasure and comfort and beauty, and below ground the Have-nots, the workers getting continually adapted to the conditions of their labour… [The workers] would become as well adapted to the conditions of underground life, and as happy in their way, as the Upper-world people were to theirs.”

John Hope Franklin, The Militant South, 1800-1861

On Philanthropy and the Creation of American Eugenics

Edwin Black, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race

Public Health and the Urban Crisis in the Progressive Era

Michael Willrich, Pox: An American History

Nayan Shah, Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown

World’s Fairs and the Imperial Project

"Savage Acts: Wars, Fairs, and Empire, 1898-1904," Documentary, 2006

Late 80s Hair Metal, a Correction

Poison, “Unskinny Bop,” Flesh & Blood

Skid Row, “18 and Life,” Skid Row


“The Truth About the Much Maligned Humble Tide Flats,” Seattle Star, 5/16/1905

“Live from Garbage Dump,” Seattle Times, 5/14/1905

Ruling Class Fears of Interracial Cooperation

Douglas Egerton, Gabriel’s Rebellion: The Virgina Slave Conspiracies of 1800 & 1802

Lerone Bennet Jr, “The Road Not Taken,” Ebony, August 1970

James Crichton and the Razing of Shacktown

“Crichton Promotes Health of Seattle,” Seattle Times, 6/29/1913

“Tide Land Shacks Must Go,” Seattle Times, 4/23/1908

Tuberculosis Tourism and Exclusion

Emily Abel, Tuberculosis and the Politics of Exclusion: A History of Public Health and Migration to Los Angeles

The 1919 General Strike

Anna Louise Strong, “No One Knows Where,” Seattle Union Record, 2/4/1919

The Seattle General Strike,” History Committee of the General Strike Committee, 1919

Trevor Williams, “Ole Hanson’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame,” 1999

Empire and Its Lessons

Greg Grandin, Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism

American Public Health & Philanthropy Abroad

Laura Briggs, Reproducing Empire: Sex, Science, and US Imperialism in Puerto Rico

Steven Palmer, Launching Global Health: The Caribbean Odyssey of the Rockefeller Foundation

Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Marriage of Convenience: Rockefeller International Health and Revolutionary Mexico

The AIDS Crisis

The Reagan Administration’s Unearthed Response to the AIDS Crisis is Chilling,” Vanity Fair, 12/1/2015

Neoliberalism and Coronavirus

Alex Pareene, “The Dismantled State Takes on a Pandemic,” The New Republic, 3/12/2020

Closing Theme

Devious Ones, “Tuberculosis,” 2016