Synopses & Reviews
Winner, 2022 Whitfield Prize for First Monograph in the Field of British and Irish History
Since the eighteenth century, European administrators and officers, military men, soldiers, missionaries, doctors, wives, and servants moved back and forth between Britain and its growing imperial territories. The introduction of steam-powered vessels, and deep-docks to accommodate them at London ports, significantly reduced travel time for colonists and imperial servants traveling home to see their families, enjoy a period of study leave, or recuperate from the tropical climate. With their minds enervated by the sun, livers disrupted by the heat, and blood teeming with parasites, these patients brought the empire home and, in doing so, transformed medicine in Britain. With Imperial Bodies in London, Kristin D. Hussey offers a postcolonial history of medicine in London. Following mobile tropical bodies, her book challenges the idea of a uniquely domestic medical practice, arguing instead that British medicine was imperial medicine in the late Victorian era. Using the analytic tools of geography, she interrogates sites of encounter across the imperial metropolis to explore how medical research and practice were transformed and remade at the crossroads of empire.