Christobal Silva uncovers the differing narratives of epidemiology and their impact on the colonial New England landscape. The title references John Winthrop's justification for the Puritan migration to New England and the decimation of Native American populations along the New England coastline, 1616–19. Silva uses the term “epidemiology” to describe the reading and treatments of epidemics during the period of colonial migration. The bulk of the text, however, focuses on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century conceptions of illness, contagion and treatment, and their parallel evolution to theological, juridical, and political discourses.

Silva explores how epidemiology gave shape to the landscape and the legal justifications needed for land appropriations and the transfer from wilderness to property. In other words, he explores how epidemiology gave shape to the landscape by providing the legal justification needed for land...

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