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Searching Eyes

Privacy, the State, and Disease Surveillance in America

Amy L. Fairchild (Author), Ronald Bayer (Author), James Colgrove (Author), Daniel Wolfe (Contributor)

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Paperback, 368 pages
ISBN: 9780520253254
November 2007
$30.95, £22.95
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This is the first history of public health surveillance in the United States to span more than a century of conflict and controversy. The practice of reporting the names of those with disease to health authorities inevitably poses questions about the interplay between the imperative to control threats to the public's health and legal and ethical concerns about privacy. Authors Amy L. Fairchild, Ronald Bayer, and James Colgrove situate the tension inherent in public health surveillance in a broad social and political context and show how the changing meaning and significance of privacy have marked the politics and practice of surveillance since the end of the nineteenth century.
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Foreword by Daniel M. Fox and Samuel L. Milbank
Acknowledgments
Preface: The Politics of Privacy, the Politics of Surveillance
1. Introduction: Surveillance and the Landscape of Privacy in Twentieth-Century America

PART I. THE RISE OF SURVEILLANCE AND THE POLITICS OF RESISTANCE
2. Opening Battles: Tuberculosis and the Foundations of Surveillance
3. Raising the Veil: Syphilis and Secrecy
PART II. EXTENDING SURVEILLANCE: THE POLITICS OF RECOGNITION
4. The Right to Know: Detection, Reporting, and Prevention of Occupational Disease
5. The Right to Be Counted: Confronting the “Menace of Cancer”
6. Who Shall Count the Little Children? From “Crippled Kiddies” to Birth Defects

PART III. SURVEILLANCE AT CENTURY’S END: THE POLITICS OF DEMOCRATIC PRIVACY
7. AIDS, Activism, and the Vicissitudes of Democratic Privacy
8. Counting All Kids: Immunization Registries and the Privacy of Parents and Children
9. Panoptic Visions and Stubborn Realities in a New Era of Privacy

Conclusion: An Enduring Tension
Notes
Index
The authors are with the Center for History and Ethics of Public Health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Amy L. Fairchild, Associate Professor, is the author of Science at the Borders: Immigration Medical Inspection and the Shaping of the Modern Industrial Labor Force (2003). Ronald Bayer, Professor, is the author of many books including Shattered Dreams: An Oral History of the South Africa AIDS Epidemic (2007) with Gerald Oppenheimer. James Colgrove, Assistant Professor, is the author of State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination Twentieth-Century America (2006).
“Well-documented, comprehensive, and important.”—Richard A. Meckel Journal Of American History
"This is a stunning book—comprehensive and perceptive. Searching Eyes: Privacy, the State, and Disease Surveillance in America is a major achievement in interdisciplinary scholarship and historical interpretation, and will remain the definitive work on this important subject for many years to come."—Theodore M. Brown, Ph.D., Professor of History, Community and Preventive Medicine, and Medical Humanities, University of Rochester

"A landmark in the history and ethics of public health. Meticulously researched, it provides the first overarching account of the evolution of public health surveillance in the United States, from the debates over tuberculosis and venereal disease at the start of the 20th century to the tensions over AIDS and bioterrorism at century's end. Fairchild, Bayer, and Colgrove provide insights not only into how concerns about privacy shaped the politics of public health but also about how the need for protection and services could fuel the demand for extending surveillance. Searching Eyes is invaluable not only for those who want to understand the past but for those who will be called on to make and debate public health policy in the future."—Larry O. Gostin, author of Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint (2nd ed, forthcoming 2008)

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