Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History

Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History

Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History. By Rod Edmond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. ix plus 255 pp.). In his Introduction to Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History, Rod Edmond, Professor of Modern Literature and Cultural History at the University of Kent explains that he is not a “historian of medicine, but a literary-cumpostcolonial critic of strongly historicist bent.” His study of the modern history of leprosy (1) is situated in the “new imperial history” which seeks to show how metropole and colony were “mutually constitutive” [p. 17]. What follows is a series of chapters which, in varied ways, explore how responses to leprosy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries may illuminate important aspects of imperialism in the colonies as well as how the colonial experience fostered–or rekindled–concerns of contamination, contagion, infection and degeneration within the metropolitan powers themselves.

Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History

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