Frontiers of Medicine in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1899-1940

By Heather Bell | Go to book overview

I
The Boundaries of Colonial Medicine

This book is about colonial medicine. While tropical medicine and imperial medicine stress the tropics and the empire as units of analysis, colonial medicine emphasizes the colony. It suggests that we should understand overseas medical practice during the age of imperialism in the context of the interwoven political, economic, and social institutions and interests that constituted each different colonial regime. Such an emphasis is particularly important because colonialism, even within the British empire, took on a wide range of forms. But the term 'colonial medicine' also presents analytical challenges, not least because what it meant for an institution or a medical practice or a form of power to be 'colonial'--beyond the literal sense of 'occurring in a colony'--continues to be ill-defined. What is clear is that new scholarship is remaking the terms in which we conceptualize the colonial encounter. The general literature on the 'tensions of empire' that is growing up around the intersection of history and anthropology has emphasized that the category of 'colonizer' cannot be regarded monolithically: it has shown that significant divisions of race, gender, class, and outlook existed between, for example, missionaries, policemen, district commissioners, and prostitutes.1 Certainties about the binary division between colonizer and colonized are being challenged as we come to appreciate the roles played by members of the 'colonized' population in colonial administrations. While many analyses of the operation of colonial medical power in Africa are, for example, predicated on the assumption that white European doctors treated black African patients--indeed this is the standard image that the term 'colonial medicine' conjures up--the reality was that the great majority of the practitioners of Western medicine in Africa during the colonial period were not European doctors, but non- Europeans, usually trained African auxiliaries. Recognizing and investi-

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1
Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds.), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997); Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff , Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa, i ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991); Nicholas Thomas, Colonialism's Culture: Anthropology, Travel, and Government ( Oxford: Polity Press, 1994).

-1-

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Frontiers of Medicine in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1899-1940
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations x
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xii
  • GLOSSARY xiv
  • I- The Boundaries of Colonial Medicine 1
  • 2: Medical Policy and Medical Practitioners 22
  • 3- The Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories and the Organization Of Research 55
  • Conclusion 88
  • Conclusion 124
  • 5- Sleeping Sickness and the Ordering Of the South 127
  • Conclusion 161
  • 6- The International Construction Of Yellow Fever 163
  • Conclusion 195
  • 7- Midwifery Training and the Politics Of Female Circumcision 198
  • Conclusion 226
  • 8- Conclusion 229
  • Bibliography 234
  • Index 255
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