• Rethinking Clean: Historicising religion, science and the purity of water in the twenty-first century

    Author(s):
    Ruth Morgan, James Smith (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Group(s):
    Cultural Studies, Environmental Humanities, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies
    Subject(s):
    Environmental history, Environmental humanities, History and philosophy of medicine, Public health, Sociology of health and illness
    Item Type:
    Conference proceeding
    Conf. Title:
    Tapping the Turn: Water\'s Social Dimensions
    Conf. Org.:
    Australian National University
    Conf. Loc.:
    Canberra
    Conf. Date:
    2012
    Tag(s):
    Hygiene, intellectual history, Water history, Water and culture, Moral panic
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6MJ7W
    Abstract:
    The historical narrative of water purity tends to chart a process of secularisation with an increasing importance on cleanliness. We suggest otherwise – that rhetorically at least, water has never been secularised. Moral impurity and water contamination have a long and interrelated history. Even before the connection had been made between contaminated water and disease, baptismal ideas had long fostered associations of hygiene and piety. The predilection for public bathing during Roman times continued long into the Middle Ages. Although John Wesley had pithily declared, ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’ in the eighteenth century, it was not until the following century that his words would help to transform the habits of the upper classes of Britain and North America. Invariably, these notions were translated into ideas of moral hygiene. A polarity was established between the clean and the unclean, the refined and the coarse, the disciplined and the disorderly. Through the provision of clean, piped water and flushing of wastes, the sanitary engineer therefore, facilitated acts of physical and moral purification and civilisation.
    Notes:
    Conference website: http://tappingtheturn.org/
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Conference proceeding    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 month ago
    License:
    All-Rights-Granted

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