Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Week 14: Empire

Lecturer: Kathleen Vongsathorn

This week we will investigate the relationship between empire, health and medicine in greater depth. With a particular focus on empire in Africa, we will explore the motivations that influenced the provision of healthcare in the colonial world; how medicine and theories of race related to ideologies of empire; and how indigenous and colonial medical ideas and practices interacted and competed. Who was perceived to have authority in the search for health, and why? What legacies of colonial medicine remain, and are the same ideologies and priorities that defined colonial medicine still prominent today?


Discussion/Essay Questions:

  • What was the relationship between medicine and Empire?
  • In what ways did indigenous medical practices and indigenous meanings of sickness and health conflict with colonial notions and colonial medical practices?
  • What priorities have driven the provision of medicine in the colonial world?
  • Was ‘racial science’ necessary to the expansion and/or survival of Empire?
  • What continuities – and differences – can be found between colonial medicine and global health issues today?

Required Readings:
 

Maryinez Lyons, The Colonial Disease. A Social History of Sleeping Sickness in Northern Zaire, 1900-1940 (Cambridge, 1992). Ch. 7: The campaign. Part one: sleeping sickness and social medicine, pp. 102-136 (e-book)

Karen Flint, 'Competition, Race, and Professionalization: Healers and White Medical Practitioners in Natal, South Africa in the Early Twentieth Century', Social History of Medicine, 14.2 (2001), 199-221 (e-journal)


Further Readings:

Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989)

Sunil Amrith, Decolonising International Health: India and Southeast Asia, 1930–1965 (New York, 2006).

Warwick Anderson, Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines, (Durham NC.: Duke University Press, 2006): Chapters 2,6,7.

Warwick Anderson, ‘Immunities of Empire: Race, Disease, and the New Tropical Medicine, 1900-1920’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 70 (1996), pp. 94-118. E-journal

Morag Bell, 'The Pestilence That Walketh in Darkness'. Imperial Health, Gender and Images of South Africa c. 1880-1910’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 18 (1993), 327-341 JSTOR

David Arnold, Colonizing the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in Nineteenth-Century India (Berkeley, 1993).

Maitrii Aung-Thwin, ‘Healing, Rebellion, and the Law: Ethnologies of Medicine in Colonial Burma, 1928-1932’, Journal of Burma Studies, 14 (2010), pp. 151-185. E-journal

Alison Bashford (ed.), Medicine at the Border: Disease, Globalization and Security, 1850 to the Present (2006). E-book

Roberta Bivins, ‘Coming ‘Home’ to (post)Colonial Medicine: Treating Tropical Bodies in Post-War Britain’, Social History of Medicine, 26 (2013), pp. 1-20. E-journal

Nadav Davidovitch and Zalman Greenberg, ‘Public health, culture, and colonial medicine: smallpox and variolation in Palestine during the British Mandate’, Public Health Reports, 122 (2007), pp. 398-406. E-journal

William Easterly, The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (2007). Ch. 7: The Healers: Triumph and Tragedy, pp. 211-236. Course extract

Waltraud Ernst and Bernard Harris (eds), Race, Science, and Medicine, 1700-1960 (London, 1999).

Mark Harrison, ‘“The Tender Frame of Man”: Disease, Climate, and Racial Difference in India and the West Indies, 1760-1860,’ Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 70 (1996), pp. 68-93. E-journal

Margaret Jones, ‘The Ceylon Malaria Epidemic of 1934-35: A Case Study in Colonial Medicine’, Social History of Medicine, 13 (2000), pp. 87-110. E-journal

Maryinez Lyons, The Colonial Disease: A Social History of Sleeping Sickness in Northern Zaire, 1900-1940 (Cambridge, 1992). E-book

Roy Macleod and Milton Lewis (eds), Disease, Medicine and Empire: Perspectives on Western Medicine and the Experience of European Expansion (London, 1988).

Jonathan Sadowsky, 'Psychiatry and Colonial Ideology in Nigeria', Bulletin of the History of Medicine 71 (1997), 94-111 E-Journal

Ronen Shamir and Daphna Hacker, 'Colonialism's Civilizing Mission: The Case of the Indian Hemp Drug Commission’, Law & Social Inquiry, 26, (Spring, 2001), . 435-461 JSTOR

Lynn M. Thomas, ‘Imperial Concerns and 'Women's Affairs': State Efforts to Regulate Clitoridectomy and Eradicate Abortion in Meru, Kenya, c. 1910-1950’, The Journal of African History, 39, (1998), 121-145 JSTOR

Megan Vaughan, ‘Healing and Curing: Issues in the Social History and Anthropology of Medicine in Africa’, Social History of Medicine, 7 (1994), pp. 283-295. E-journal

Kathleen Vongsathorn, “Public Health or Public Good? Humanitarian Agendas and the Treatment of Leprosy in Uganda,” in Bronwen Everill and Josiah Kaplan (eds.), The History and Practice of Humanitarian Intervention and Aid in Africa (2013), pp. 43-66. E-book

Luise White, ‘The Traffic in Heads: Bodies, Borders and the Articulation of Regional Histories’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 23 (1997), pp. 325-338. E-journal

Michael Worboys, ‘The Colonial World as Mission and Mandate: Leprosy and Empire, 1900-1940’, Osiris, 15 (2000), pp. 207-218. E-journal