Author: Rana A. Hogarth
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Release Date: 2017-09-26
Genre: Social Science
In 1748, as yellow fever raged in Charleston, South Carolina, doctor John Lining remarked, "There is something very singular in the constitution of the Negroes, which renders them not liable to this fever." Lining's comments presaged ideas about blackness that would endure in medical discourses and beyond. In this fascinating medical history, Rana A. Hogarth examines the creation and circulation of medical ideas about blackness in the Atlantic World during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She shows how white physicians deployed blackness as a medically significant marker of difference and used medical knowledge to improve plantation labor efficiency, safeguard colonial and civic interests, and enhance control over black bodies during the era of slavery. Hogarth refigures Atlantic slave societies as medical frontiers of knowledge production on the topic of racial difference. Rather than looking to their counterparts in Europe who collected and dissected bodies to gain knowledge about race, white physicians in Atlantic slaveholding regions created and tested ideas about race based on the contexts in which they lived and practiced. What emerges in sharp relief is the ways in which blackness was reified in medical discourses and used to perpetuate notions of white supremacy.
Author: Michael Keevak
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2011-04-18
Genre: Social Science
In their earliest encounters with Asia, Europeans almost uniformly characterized the people of China and Japan as white. This was a means of describing their wealth and sophistication, their willingness to trade with the West, and their presumed capacity to become Christianized. But by the end of the seventeenth century the category of whiteness was reserved for Europeans only. When and how did Asians become "yellow" in the Western imagination? Looking at the history of racial thinking, Becoming Yellow explores the notion of yellowness and shows that this label originated not in early travel texts or objective descriptions, but in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientific discourses on race. From the walls of an ancient Egyptian tomb, which depicted people of varying skin tones including yellow, to the phrase "yellow peril" at the beginning of the twentieth century in Europe and America, Michael Keevak follows the development of perceptions about race and human difference. He indicates that the conceptual relationship between East Asians and yellow skin did not begin in Chinese culture or Western readings of East Asian cultural symbols, but in anthropological and medical records that described variations in skin color. Eighteenth-century taxonomers such as Carl Linnaeus, as well as Victorian scientists and early anthropologists, assigned colors to all racial groups, and once East Asians were lumped with members of the Mongolian race, they began to be considered yellow. Demonstrating how a racial distinction took root in Europe and traveled internationally, Becoming Yellow weaves together multiple narratives to tell the complex history of a problematic term.
Author: Londa L Schiebinger
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2009-06-30
Plants seldom figure in the grand narratives of war, peace, or even everyday life yet they are often at the center of high intrigue. In the eighteenth century, epic scientific voyages were sponsored by European imperial powers to explore the natural riches of the New World, and uncover the botanical secrets of its people. Bioprospectors brought back medicines, luxuries, and staples for their king and country. Risking their lives to discover exotic plants, these daredevil explorers joined with their sponsors to create a global culture of botany. But some secrets were unearthed only to be lost again. In this moving account of the abuses of indigenous Caribbean people and African slaves, Schiebinger describes how slave women brewed the "peacock flower" into an abortifacient, to ensure that they would bear no children into oppression. Yet, impeded by trade winds of prevailing opinion, knowledge of West Indian abortifacients never flowed into Europe. A rich history of discovery and loss, "Plants and Empire" explores the movement, triumph, and extinction of knowledge in the course of encounters between Europeans and the Caribbean populations.
Author: Deirdre Cooper Owens
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Release Date: 2017-11-15
The accomplishments of pioneering doctors such as John Peter Mettauer, James Marion Sims, and Nathan Bozeman are well documented. It is also no secret that these nineteenth-century gynecologists performed experimental caesarean sections, ovariotomies, and obstetric fistula repairs primarily on poor and powerless women. Medical Bondage breaks new ground by exploring how and why physicians denied these women their full humanity yet valued them as “medical superbodies” highly suited for medical experimentation. In Medical Bondage, Cooper Owens examines a wide range of scientific literature and less formal communications in which gynecologists created and disseminated medical fictions about their patients, such as their belief that black enslaved women could withstand pain better than white “ladies.” Even as they were advancing medicine, these doctors were legitimizing, for decades to come, groundless theories related to whiteness and blackness, men and women, and the inferiority of other races or nationalities. Medical Bondage moves between southern plantations and northern urban centers to reveal how nineteenth-century American ideas about race, health, and status influenced doctor-patient relationships in sites of healing like slave cabins, medical colleges, and hospitals. It also retells the story of black enslaved women and of Irish immigrant women from the perspective of these exploited groups and thus restores for us a picture of their lives.
Author: Suman Seth
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2018-06-07
Before the nineteenth century, travellers who left Britain for the Americas, West Africa, India and elsewhere encountered a medical conundrum: why did they fall ill when they arrived, and why – if they recovered - did they never become so ill again? The widely accepted answer was that the newcomers needed to become 'seasoned to the climate.' Suman Seth explores forms of eighteenth-century medical knowledge, including conceptions of seasoning, showing how geographical location was essential to this knowledge and helped to define relationships between Britain and her far-flung colonies. In this period, debates raged between medical practitioners over whether diseases changed in different climes. Different diseases were deemed characteristic of different races and genders, and medical practitioners were thus deeply involved in contestations over race and the legitimacy of the abolitionist cause. In this innovative and engaging history, Seth offers dramatically new ways to understand the mutual shaping of medicine, race, and empire.
Author: Rana A. Hogarth
Release Date: 2017
" ... Examines the creation and circulation of medical ideas about blackness in the Atlantic World during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She shows how white physicians deployed blackness as a medically significant marker of difference and used medical knowledge about black bodies to improve plantation labor efficiency, safeguard colonial and civic interests, and enhance control over black bodies during the era of slavery"--
Author: Katherine Paugh
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2017-04-27
Many British politicians, planters, and doctors attempted to exploit the fertility of Afro-Caribbean women's bodies in order to ensure the economic success of the British Empire during the age of abolition. Abolitionist reformers hoped that a homegrown labor force would end the need for the Atlantic slave trade. By establishing the ubiquity of visions of fertility and subsequent economic growth during this time, The Politics of Reproduction sheds fresh light on the oft-debated question of whether abolitionism was understood by contemporaries as economically beneficial to the plantation colonies. At the same time, Katherine Paugh makes novel assertions about the importance of Britain's Caribbean colonies in the emergence of population as a political problem. The need to manipulate the labor market on Caribbean plantations led to the creation of new governmental strategies for managing sex and childbearing, such as centralized nurseries, discouragement of extended breastfeeding, and financial incentives for childbearing, that have become commonplace in our modern world. While assessing the politics of reproduction in the British Empire and its Caribbean colonies in relationship to major political events such as the Haitian Revolution, the study also focuses in on the island of Barbados. The remarkable story of an enslaved midwife and her family illustrates how plantation management policies designed to promote fertility affected Afro-Caribbean women during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Politics of Reproduction draws on a wide variety of sources, including debates in the British Parliament and the Barbados House of Assembly, the records of Barbadian plantations, tracts about plantation management published by doctors and plantation owners, and missionary records related to the island of Barbados.
Author: Londa Schiebinger
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Release Date: 2017-07-18
In the natural course of events, humans fall sick and die. The history of medicine bristles with attempts to find new and miraculous remedies, to work with and against nature to restore humans to health and well-being. In this book, Londa Schiebinger examines medicine and human experimentation in the Atlantic World, exploring the circulation of people, disease, plants, and knowledge between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. She traces the development of a colonial medical complex from the 1760s, when a robust experimental culture emerged in the British and French West Indies, to the early 1800s, when debates raged about banning the slave trade and, eventually, slavery itself. Massive mortality among enslaved Africans and European planters, soldiers, and sailors fueled the search for new healing techniques. Amerindian, African, and European knowledges competed to cure diseases emerging from the collision of peoples on newly established, often poorly supplied, plantations. But not all knowledge was equal. Highlighting the violence and fear endemic to colonial struggles, Schiebinger explores aspects of African medicine that were not put to the test, such as Obeah and vodou. This book analyzes how and why specific knowledges were blocked, discredited, or held secret.
Exposes the influential work of a group of black artists to confront and refute scientific racism. Traversing the archives of early African American literature, performance, and visual culture, Britt Rusert uncovers the dynamic experiments of a group of black writers, artists, and performers. Fugitive Science chronicles a little-known story about race and science in America. While the history of scientific racism in the nineteenth century has been well-documented, there was also a counter-movement of African Americans who worked to refute its claims. Far from rejecting science, these figures were careful readers of antebellum science who linked diverse fields—from astronomy to physiology—to both on-the-ground activism and more speculative forms of knowledge creation. Routinely excluded from institutions of scientific learning and training, they transformed cultural spaces like the page, the stage, the parlor, and even the pulpit into laboratories of knowledge and experimentation. From the recovery of neglected figures like Robert Benjamin Lewis, Hosea Easton, and Sarah Mapps Douglass, to new accounts of Martin Delany, Henry Box Brown, and Frederick Douglass, Fugitive Science makes natural science central to how we understand the origins and development of African American literature and culture. This distinct and pioneering book will spark interest from anyone wishing to learn more on race and society.
Author: Pablo F. Gómez
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Release Date: 2017-02-23
Opening a window on a dynamic realm far beyond imperial courts, anatomical theaters, and learned societies, Pablo F. Gomez examines the strategies that Caribbean people used to create authoritative, experientially based knowledge about the human body and the natural world during the long seventeenth century. Gomez treats the early modern intellectual culture of these mostly black and free Caribbean communities on its own merits and not only as it relates to well-known frameworks for the study of science and medicine. Drawing on an array of governmental and ecclesiastical sources—notably Inquisition records—Gomez highlights more than one hundred black ritual practitioners regarded as masters of healing practices and as social and spiritual leaders. He shows how they developed evidence-based healing principles based on sensorial experience rather than on dogma. He elucidates how they nourished ideas about the universality of human bodies, which contributed to the rise of empirical testing of disease origins and cures. Both colonial authorities and Caribbean people of all conditions viewed this experiential knowledge as powerful and competitive. In some ways, it served to respond to the ills of slavery. Even more crucial, however, it demonstrates how the black Atlantic helped creatively to fashion the early modern world.
Author: Janet Neary
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016
Fugitive Testimony examines African American slave narratives in light of contemporary artists' use of the genre within their visual art at the end of the twentieth century. It identifies a sustained representational strategy employed by black cultural producers across time to challenge the racial presumptions that manifest as artistic constraints.
Author: Lynn Meskell
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2018-06-12
Best known for its World Heritage program committed to "the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity," the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded in 1945 as an intergovernmental agency aimed at fostering peace, humanitarianism, and intercultural understanding. Its mission was inspired by leading European intellectuals such as Henri Bergson, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, H. G. Wells, and Aldous and Julian Huxley. Often critiqued for its inherent Eurocentrism, UNESCO and its World Heritage program today remain embedded within modernist principles of "progress" and "development" and subscribe to the liberal principles of diplomacy and mutual tolerance. However, its mission to prevent conflict, destruction, and intolerance, while noble and much needed, increasingly falls short, as recent battles over the World Heritage sites of Preah Vihear, Chersonesos, Jerusalem, Palmyra, Aleppo, and Sana'a, among others, have underlined. A Future in Ruins is the story of UNESCO's efforts to save the world's heritage and, in doing so, forge an international community dedicated to peaceful co-existence and conservation. It traces how archaeology and internationalism were united in Western initiatives after the political upheavals of the First and Second World Wars. This formed the backdrop for the emergent hopes of a better world that were to captivate the "minds of men." UNESCO's leaders were also confronted with challenges and conflicts about their own mission. Would the organization aspire to intellectual pursuits that contributed to the dream of peace or instead be relegated to an advisory and technical agency? An eye-opening and long overdue account of a celebrated yet poorly understood agency, A Future in Ruins calls on us all to understand how and why the past comes to matter in the present, who shapes it, and who wins or loses as a consequence.