Leprosy is one of the oldest known human diseases, recognized throughout the world. Leprosy causes serious damage to the nervous system, often resulting in deformity in the absence of an effective treatment; sufferers were often left at the mercy of its natural process or were segregated from others due to the fear of contagion. The places ravaged by leprosy became lands of fear. Modern science has shown that leprosy bacilli have a high rate of infectivity but a rather low rate of pathogenicity, and above ninety percent of people are equipped with immunity to leprosy. Leper colonies as described in the life writings of leprosy sufferers, however, represent the politics of segregation, as well as that of fear, and pain. This paper probes into the life writings of leprosy sufferers and discusses the landscapes of illness, politics of segregation, and discourses of empathy in late nineteenth-century cultural memories of Hawaii.
"Landscapes of Illness, Politics of Segregation and Discourse of Empathy in the 19th Century Leprosy Narratives of Hawaii."
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