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Health and Difference: Rendering Human Variation in Colonial Engagements

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Volume 8

Studies of the Biosocial Society

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Health and Difference

Rendering Human Variation in Colonial Engagements

Edited by Alexandra Widmer and Veronika Lipphardt

250 pages, 3 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-271-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (September 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-272-2 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“The chapters each offer a clearly delimited case study, most taking a narrow timeframe (a decade or two, six at most) and geographical focus. This allows them to illustrate how very specific sets of concerns shaped how distinctions were generated, and acted on, by scientific and administrative practices.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI)

“This volume contributes valuably to literature by showing how medical knowledge practices both shaped, and were shaped by, categories and images of social, cultural, sexual,and biological difference, and ‘racial difference’.” • Ricardo Roque, University of Lisbon


Human variation represented a central research topic for life scientists and posed challenging administrative issues for colonial bureaucrats in the first half of the 20th century. By following scientists’ and administrators’ interests in innovating styles and tools for making and circulating documents, in reshaping landscapes and environments, and in fixing distances between humans, the book advances new understandings of the materiality of colonial institutional life and governance.

Alexandra Widmer is an anthropologist who teaches at York University in Toronto. Situating the Pacific islands in a global context, her work focuses on colonial and post colonial dimensions of biomedicine, population thinking, reproduction and care.

Veronika Lipphardt is Professor for Science and Technology Studies at the Freiburg University. She works on the history of the life sciences, particularly physical anthropology and human population genetics in their political, social and cultural contexts.

Subject: Medical Anthropology Colonial History


List of Figures

Introduction: Health and Difference: Rendering Human Variation in Colonial Engagements
Veronika Lipphardt and Alexandra Widmer

Chapter 1. Race, Health and Colonial Politics in the Third Reich: Nauck and Giemsa’s Expedition to Espírito Santo, Brazil in 1936
André Felipe Cândido da Silva

Chapter 2. ‘Ill-suited’ Populations in German Nauru: Race, Health and Labour under Company Administration, 1888–1914
Antje Kühnast

Chapter 3. The War on the Anopheles Mosquito: Malaria, Labour and Race in the New Hebrides, 1925–1945
Jean Mitchell

Chapter 4. Medical Missions – Racial Visions: Fighting Sleeping Sickness in Colonial Africa in the Early Twentieth Century
Sarah Ehlers

Chapter 5. Colonial Histories of Cancers: Primary Liver Cancer in Africa, 1900s–1960s
Jean-Paul Bado

Chapter 6. Postponing Equality: From Colonial to International Nutritional Standards, 1932–1950
Maria Letícia Galluzzi Bizzo

Chapter 7. The Gender of Nutrition in French West Africa: Military Medicine, Intra-Colonial Marginality and Ethnos Theory in the Making of Malnutrition in Niger
Barbara M. Cooper

Chapter 8. Medical Demography in Interwar Angola: Measuring and Negotiating Health, Reproduction and Difference
Samuël Coghe

Chapter 9. Indo-Europeans in the Dutch East Indies: An Indo-European Analysis of a Paradoxical Colonial Category
Hans Pols

Afterword: Following Racial Paper Trails
Warwick Anderson


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