Disease, Medicine and Empire : Perspectives on Western Medicine and the Experience of European Expansion book cover
1st Edition

Disease, Medicine and Empire
Perspectives on Western Medicine and the Experience of European Expansion

ISBN 9781032235394
Published May 25, 2022 by Routledge
354 Pages

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Book Description

Originally published in 1988, the essays in this book focus primarily on colonial medicine in the British Empire but comparative material on the experience of France and Germany is also included. The authors show how medicine served as an instrument of empire, as well as constituting an imperializing cultural force in itself, reflecting in different contexts, the objectives of European expansion – whether to conquer, to occupy or to settle. With chapters from a distinguished array of social and medical historians, colonial medicine is examined in its topical, regional and professional diversity. Ranging from tropical to temperate regions, from 18th Century colonial America to 20th Century South Africa, this book is an important contribution to our understanding of the influence of European medicine on imperial history.

Table of Contents

Part 1: European Medicine and Imperial Experience 1. Manson, Ross and Colonial Medical Policy: Tropical Medicine in London and Liverpool, 1899-1914 Michael Warboys 2. Imperial Health in British India, 1857 – 1900 Radhika Ramasubban 3. European Medicine in the Cook Islands Raeburn Lange 4. Medicine and German Colonial Expansion in the Pacific: The Caroline, Mariana and Marshall islands Wolfgang U. Eckart 5. French Colonial Medicine and Colonial Rule: Algeria and Indochina Anne Marcovich Part 2: European Medicine and Colonial Practice 6. Temperate Medicine and Settler Capitalism: On the Reception of Western Medical Ideas Donald Denoon 7. Medical Professionalism in Colonial Carolina Diane Sydenham 8. Public Health and the Medical Profession in Nineteenth-Century Canada Geoffrey Bilson 9. ‘Our Salubrious Climate’: Attitudes to Health in Colonial Queensland Helen R. Woolcock 10. The Medical Profession in Colonial Victoria, 1834-1901 Diana Dyason Part 3: Crises of Empire: The Politics of Race and Epidemic Disease 11. ‘The Dreadful Scourge’: Responses to Smallpox in Sydney and Melbourne, 1991-2 Alan Mayne 12. Sleeping Sickness, Colonial Medicine and Imperialism: Some Connections in the Belgian Congo Maryinez Lyons 13. Typhus and Social Control: South Africa 1917-1950 Shula Marks and Neil Andersson 14. Cholera and Colonialism in the Philippines, 1899-1903 Rodney Sullivan 15. The ‘Health’ of the Race’ and Infant Health in New South Wales: Perspectives on Medicine and Empire Milton Lewis.

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Roy MacLeod is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Sydney. He writes in the social history of science, technology and exploration in Australasia and the Pacific. His early work focused on the history of vaccination and epidemic disease, and he taught imperial and global medical and military history at Sydney for many years. His current work studies the changing dimensions of science, medicine and technology in global geopolitics and cooperation in Space.

Milton Lewis was Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney. He has had a long- term interest in how history can contribute to better understanding of health problems and policy. His last three books have focussed on the impact of globalisation on the health of the peoples of the diverse polities, economies, societies and cultures of Asia and the Pacific.


‘This is a useful and substantial collection, which amply fulfils its stated objectives…. All (the papers) are based on thorough research in primary sources.’ Geoffrey Rice, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

'...its geographical and analytical range is impressive.' Mark Harrison, Corpus Christi College, Oxford. UK.