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Nurse Kezia Payne DePelchin survived numerous yellow fever epidemics and this module suggests ways to teach her writings in the classroom.

Environmental history in the classroom: yellow fever as a case study

In early twentieth-century Cuba, the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission, led by Walter Reed, discovered that mosquitoes were responsible for the spread of yellow fever across the globe. Prior to Reed's findings, people had lived in fear of a disease that appeared to strike with no warning or logic. Yellow fever, characterized by a high fever, black vomit, and skin yellowing, often proved fatal. In the 1790s numerous cities in the U.S. were crippled by the fever and the epidemics returned at regular intervals until 1905, "the last American yellow fever epidemic"(Hays, 265). In two letters to her sister ( October 27, 1878 and January 27, 1879 ) and one ( October 13, 1878 ) to the Memphis Telegram , nurse Kezia Payne DePelchin describes the yellow fever outbreak of 1878-1879 that spread across Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana, leading to the deaths of an estimated 4,100 people in Mississippi alone (Nuwer, 126). These three documents are physically housed in Rice University's Woodson Research Center, but are made available online through the ‘Our Americas’ Archive Partnership (a digital collaboration on the hemispheric Americas). While accounts of yellow fever are not overly rare, DePelchin’s perspective is unique in that she managed to survive close contact with infected individuals during numerous epidemics due to her immunity acquired by surviving the illness early in life. While there are a variety of ways to approach her writings, this module contends that DePelchin's writings are a resource for educators interested in using the lens of environmental history as a way to describe the economic growth, the scientific advances, and the development of civic involvement that occurred in the U.S. during the 1870s.

Just as social history, an outgrowth of the 1970s, is now considered a commonplace part of college and high school history textbooks, environmental history, one of the newest and most engaging forms of historical inquiry, is gradually being incorporated in the classroom. Environmental historians use primary documents to explore how the environment (insects, natural disasters, diseases, etc.) impacts and shapes human history in a variety of ways. For an example of a good, recent environmental history see Matthew Mulcahy’s Hurricanes and Society (2006) (see full biographical details below). To begin with, educators can emphasize how, although she did not realize it at the time, DePelchin, through her letters, constructed an environmental history of the 1878-1879 yellow fever outbreak. She traced the characteristics of the illness, accounted for the “collection” of the victims, and wondered why citizens so quickly began to “dance over the ashes” of the dead. DePelchin eventually returned back to Texas, but she wrote to her sister that “the remembrance of the awful scenes of the great epidemic have cast a shadow on my heart that will never pass away.” A single lecture can focus on DePelchin or environmental history can serve as a theme carried throughout the entire course.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
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What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
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what school?
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anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
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Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
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Damian Reply
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Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
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s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
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Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
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s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Yellow fever: medicine in the western hemisphere. OpenStax CNX. Oct 11, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11312/1.4
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