All rooms are equipped with an overhead projector
Rooms C, D, E, F, G and H (H only on Saturday): slide projector (framed slides, carrousel. There are extra carrousels available to set up your presentation in advance)
Rooms C, D, M, N, O, U and Committee Room 2: beamer to connect your laptop. You have to bring you own laptop. (If you want to use your Apple notebook, please contact us, as it may be incompatible.)
Rooms C, T and U: VCR
|Coping with a weak state. The Ottoman Empire, cholera and the Muslim Pilgrimage|
|From quarantines to epidemiological surveillance, the period of the health border was at the source of a twofold development: the individualization of medical police, and the normalisation of health controls which the state practices on people from surrounding or distant countries. Joining this two-fold development is the integration of medicine and hygiene into the ‘standard of civilisation’, which even today governs international law.
The ‘standard of civilisation’ was set out in 1899 and 1907 by The Hague Peace Conferences. According to it, the International Health Regulations do not tell people how to live and think but propose first a normalisation of administrative practices. It is important that the health border be effective, but also that it conforms to the rights of individuals. A state can’t be considered as ‘civilised’ if it has not acquired the territorial and administrative structures indispensable for ensuring the protection of its populations against certain risks which, although of a biological nature, are no less the product of policies regarding health, quarantine, religion, etc., as practiced by other states. Such a state might well be sovereign, it is nonetheless regarded as a weak or a defective state.
It has been said that “pre-emption sounds new only because it’s old” (Gaddis). This is no less true for public health than for strategy. For how to deal with defective states? This was a key problem in the history of health on the European continent during the past two centuries. This paper would like to examine the policy of health border between the Ottoman Empire and the rest of Europe in the late 19th century.
Administrative red tape, brutal detentions, obstacles of all kinds placed in the path of pilgrims and travelers, such rigorous quarantine measures in the eastern part of the Mediterranean stayed in effect till at least the 1920’s. The progressive relaxing of quarantine since the 1880’s meant increasing focus on local hygiene and contagion. The Sultan’s health administration was shortsighted and unable to raise the population’s concern for hygiene. While Constantinople’s pan-Islamic ideology enabled it to exercise influence over political and religious aspects of the pilgrimage, it was much too weak to block out cholera. In any case, the Ottoman Empire lacked the legitimacy to enforce health security measures in areas, like Hedjaz, where cholera had to be contained. Besides, given its inertia, corruption and propensity to brutality, it did not meet up to the ‘standard of civilization’. The Empire resisted western European health proposals more than it complied with them. For all these reasons, it was not prudent to let Constantinople head key institutions for monitoring travel in the Mediterranean. Turkey was, in fact, under constant European oversight in health matters.
Even though Constantinople might master public health techniques (medicine and hygiene being the true missionaries from the West), core values such as solidarity, individualism and scientific freedom remained alien to the culture there. Then as now, the question loomed of how to generalize efficient state institutions despite economic, technological, political and cultural differences. The idea had taken shape that an expanding ‘civilization’ has a right of pre-emptive intervention when it runs risks because of the powerlessness and dereliction of patrimonial states with insecure borders.