cover of book

The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore
by Andrea Kitta
Utah State University Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-1-60732-927-5 | Paper: 978-1-60732-926-8
Library of Congress Classification RA649+
Dewey Decimal Classification 616.9

Disease is a social issue, not just a medical issue. Using examples of specific legends and rumors, The Kiss of Death explores the beliefs and practices that permeate notions of contagion and contamination. Author Andrea Kitta offers new insight into the nature of vernacular conceptions of health and sickness and how medical and scientific institutions can use cultural literacy to better meet their communities’ needs.
Using ethnographic, media, and narrative analysis, this book explores the vernacular explanatory models used in decisions concerning contagion to better understand the real fears, risks, concerns, and doubts of the public. Kitta explores immigration and patient zero, zombies and vampires, Slender Man, HPV, and the kiss of death legend, as well as systematic racism, homophobia, and misogyny in North American culture, to examine the nature of contagion and contamination.
Conversations about health and risk cannot take place without considering positionality and intersectionality. In The Kiss of Death, Kitta isolates areas that require better communication and greater cultural sensitivity in the handling of infectious disease, public health, and other health-related disciplines and industries.

See other books on: Communicable diseases | Contagion | Epidemics | Folklore & Mythology | Kiss
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