Leprosy and colonialism

Suriname under Dutch rule, 1750-1950

By Stephen Snelders

Leprosy and colonialism
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  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526112996
  • Publish Date: May 2017
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526113023
  • Publish Date: May 2017
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information


    Leprosy and colonialism investigates the history of leprosy in Suriname within the context of Dutch colonial power and racial conflict, from the plantation economy and the age of slavery to the modern colonial state. It explores the relationship between the modern stigmatization and exclusion of people affected with leprosy, and the political tensions and racial fears originating in colonial slave society, exerting their influence until after the decolonization up to the present day. In the book colonial sources are read from shifting perspectives, of the colonial rulers and, 'from below', the ruled. Though leprosy is today a neglected tropical disease, recognizing influences of our colonial heritage in our global management of health and disease, and exploring the perspectives of other cultures are essential in a time in which migration movements make the permeability of boundaries, and transmission of diseases, more common then perhaps ever before.


    'Snelders provides a needed corrective to the historiography concerning how Western science began to see leprosy as a colonial problem. His monograph is one of very few that search for the racialized roots of leprosy discourse as far back as the eighteenth century. [.] Snelders's longue duree study greatly expands historians' understanding of leprosy in Suriname as a microcosm of colonialism's racial, social and administrative structures.'
    Kristen Block, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Social History of Medicine, vol 33, no 3, August 2018

    'Snelders's ambitious book makes an important contribution and adds to our understanding of the history of medicine in the Caribbean and the wider colonial world.'
    Juanita De Barros, Department of History, McMaster University, New West Indian Guide 92 (2018) 293-396

    'In his detailed and comprehensive history of leprosy care in Surinam, Stephen Snelders highlights several fascinating and unique features of the history of leprosy in this former Dutch colony.'
    Hans Pols, University of Sydney, Gesnerus: Swiss Journal of the History of Medicine and Sciences, Vol. 76, No. 1 (2019)

    'Leprosy and Colonialism is rich in details, informed in historiographical debate, and written in fluid
    prose. [...] The book will be of use not only to historians of medicine but, more generally, to historians and students of colonialism.'
    Isis, Journal of the History of Science Society


    Part I: Leprosy in a slave society
    1. The making of a colonial disease in the eighteenth century
    2. A policy of 'Great Confinement', 1815-1863
    3. Slaves and medicine: black perspectives
    4. 'Battleground in the jungle': the Batavia leprosy asylum in the age of slavery
    Part II: Leprosy in a modern colonial state
    5. Transformations and discussion, Suriname and the Netherlands, 1863-1890
    6. Towards a modern colonial state: reorganizing leprosy care, 1890-1900
    7. Developing modern leprosy politics, 1900-1950
    8. Colonial medicine and folk beliefs in the modern era
    9. Complex microcosms: asylums and treatments, 1900-1950
    Sources and select bibliography


    Stephen Snelders is Research Fellow in the Freudenthal Institute of the Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

    Leprosy and colonialism

    By Stephen Snelders

    Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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