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Week 1: Science and Empire

This session will introduce the overarching themes of the module, and will consider some of the frameworks that have been used to consider the role of scientific and medical practices in the history of European imperial expansion. We will look at how these topics have been covered since the mid-twentieth century, and how changing historical approaches have informed the growing scholarship in this field. Key concepts in medical history, environmental history, and global history will be reviewed as we evaluate the main areas of interaction covered by this module. In particular, we’ll consider how the history of imperialism and colonisation challenges some of the progressive narratives ordinarily associated with the spread and growth of scientific knowledge.


Discussion Questions:

-Why have science and medicine been considered ‘tools of empire’?

-What key shifts have characterized the historiography of imperial medicine?

-In what ways did global encounters challenge existing European medical models?


****For each session, please ensure you read ~3-4 readings (from the 'background reading' and 'required reading' sections), of which one MUST be the two asterix (**) marked selection. The 'background readings' are all taken from Pratik Chakrabarti's Medicine and Empire, which is available as an ebook through the library. You may wish to start with the 'backround reading' as it will provide you with a good overview of the topic and should help you situate the additional readings.

All digitised readings (labelled 'extracts') can be found here: https://clas.warwick.ac.uk/Extracts/Index/HI34i


Background Reading:

Pratik Chakrabarti, Medicine and Empire, 1600-1960 (Basingstoke, 2014), ‘Introduction’, pp. ix-xxxiv

Required Readings:

**David Arnold, ‘Medicine and Colonialism’ in WF Bynum and Roy Porter (eds.), Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine, vol 2 (London, 1993), pp.1393-1416 [extracts]

*George Basalla, ‘The Spread of Western Science’, Science 156 (1967), pp.611-622. [e-journal]

*Richard Drayton, ‘Science, Medicine and the British Empire,’ in Robin W. Winks (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire, Vol V: Historiography (Oxford, 1999), pp.264-276.

*Shula Marks, ‘What is Colonial about Colonial Medicine? And What has Happened to Imperialism and Health?’, Social History of Medicine 10 (1997), 205-219 [e-journal]


Further Readings:

Warwick Anderson, ‘Postcolonial Histories of Medicine,’ in Frank Huisman and John Harley Warner (eds.), Locating Medical History: Their Stories and Their Meanings (Baltimore, 2004), pp. 285-306 [e-book]

David Arnold, ‘Disease, Medicine and Empire’ in David Arnold (ed.), Imperial Medicine and Indigenous Societies (Manchester, 1988), pp. 1-26

Mark Harrison, ‘Science and the British Empire,’ Isis 96 (2005), pp. 56-63 [e-journal]

Joseph M. Hodge, ‘Science and Empire: An Overview of the Historical Scholarship,’ in Brett M. Bennett and Joseph M. Hodge (eds.), Science and Empire: Knowledge and Networks of Science Across the British Empire, 1800-1970 (Basingstoke, 2011), pp. 3-29 [e-book]

Roy MacLeod, ‘Introduction,’ in Roy MacLeod and Milton Lewis (eds.), Disease, Medicine and Empire: Perspectives on Western Medicine and the Experience of European Expansion (London, 1988), pp.1-18

Laurence Monnais and Hans Pols, ‘Health and Disease in the Colonies: Medicine in the Age of Empire,’ in Robert Aldrich and Kirsten McKenzie (eds.), The Routledge History of Western Empires (London, 2014), pp. 270-284

Michael A. Osborne, ‘Science and the French Empire,’ Isis 96 (2005), 80-87 [e-journal]

Keir Waddington, An Introduction to the Social History of Medicine: Europe since 1500 (Basingstoke, 2011), 'Ch. 14: Medicine and Empire', pp.277-297.