Diagnosing Empire

Diagnosing Empire

Women, Medical Knowledge, and Colonial Mobility

eBook - 2011
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Examining the emerging figure of the woman doctor and her relationship to empire in Victorian culture, Hassan traces both amateur and professional 'doctoring' by British women travelers in colonial India and the Middle East. As doctoring natives helped women like Lucie Duff Gordon, Isabel Burton, Anna Leonowens and Mary Scharlieb gain access to their lives and cultural traditions, colonial subjects, including Krupabai Satthianadhan, produced texts that participated actively in health reform.

Taylor
& Francis Publishing

Examining the emerging figure of the woman doctor and her relationship to empire in Victorian culture, Narin Hassan traces both amateur and professional 'doctoring' by British women travelers in colonial India and the Middle East. Hassan sets the scene by offering examples from Victorian novels that reveal the rise of the woman doctor as a fictional trope. Similarly, medical advice manuals by Victorian doctors aimed at families traveling overseas emphasized how women should maintain and manage healthy bodies in colonial locales. For Lucie Duff Gordon, Isabel Burton, Anna Leonowens, among others, doctoring natives secured them access to their private lives and cultural traditions. Medical texts and travel guides produced by practicing women doctors like Mary Scharlieb illustrate the relationship between medical progress and colonialism. They also helped support women's medical education in Britain and the colonies of India and the Middle East. Colonial subjects themselves produced texts in response to colonial and medical reform, and Hassan shows that a number of "New" Indian women, including Krupabai Satthianadhan, participated actively in the public sphere through their involvement in health reform. In her epilogue, Hassan considers the continuing tradition of women's autobiographical narrative inspired by travel and medical knowledge, showing that in the twentieth- and twenty-first century memoirs of South Asian and Middle Eastern women doctors, the problem of the "Woman Question" as shaped by medical discourses endures.

Book News
Drawing from the example of Victorian portable medical chests and guides for British families living in the colonies, Hassan (literature, communication, and culture; Georgia Institute of Technology, US) examines how medicine and colonialism in 19th-century India and the Middle East were related to women's travel. She considers the exchanges of British women with natives through the lens of colonial medicine to suggest that foreign contact zones were spaces of invention and cultivation where women could contribute to medical culture and enjoy cultural and literary productivity. Among her topics are female travel writers and colonial knowledge, fashioning and marketing the doctress of empire, and female medical education in India. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Burlington, Vt. : Ashgate, ©2011
ISBN: 9781409426127
1409426122
Characteristics: 1 online resource (viii, 133 pages)

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