Primary Sources, Colonial Public Health

Dear All, 

I am preparing a syllabus on medicine and empire and am looking for suggestions of primary sources (in English) to be used in class pertaining to public health measures and campaigns in 19th or early 20th century empires (including U.S. colonies).  I am particularly looking for sources related to criminality and/or reproductive health.  Any suggestions of individual sources or sourcebooks will be greatly appreciated; visual sources such as photographs would be helpful as well.


Lance Thurner

Rutgers University

Re: When your subject matter becomes inherently "political" in the contemporary context

It’s It’s a great question, one that I've given ample thought from the position of student and more recently a TA. There are any number of subtexts to pursue, but I will address here what I see as the ethical nub of the issue.

Re: When your subject matter becomes inherently "political" in the contemporary context

Hi there!

It's a very important area of students' growth.

I teach English (both literature & language) to Engineering students.

At such Engineering institutes, in India, large number of students come from privileged backgrounds.

It seems, in the last 4-5 years, students have undergone a change. At my institute, the last time I asked my students why they were studying Engineering, they answered to succeed and to "make big bucks!"

Another aspect of Engineering students, at least, at my institute, is about caste-politics.

Re: When your subject matter becomes inherently "political" in the contemporary context

Good discussion! I attended college in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time when there was plenty of political controversy. The Left equated the election of Ronald Reagan with the coming of the Antichrist. I’m not kidding. However, my history professors at Northern Arizona University were scholars and professionals and in their lectures on Western Civilization (there was no “World History” then) or American history, they never burdened us with their own partisan views.

Re: Reading Suggestions for Undergraduates

To go along with the suggestion of the article by Wirth and as an endorsement of adding urban sociology to the reading list, and out of the desire to communicate that cities function systemically, how about "City as a Growth Machine" by Harvey Molotch and/or _Urban Fortunes_ by Logan and Molotch. These writings "changed my life" in terms of how to figure out the reality of how cities operate.

Re: Reading Suggestions for Undergraduates

It would be worth exploring the open-access online journal "Urbanities-Journal of Urban Ethnography". The journal could also be a good source for comparative analysis - ethnographically and from different disciplinary perspectives.
Similarly, several chapters published in the "Palgrave Handbook of Urban Ethnography" address different aspects of the 'city as environment' (with excuses for suggesting a work that I co-edited).


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