Colonizing Leprosy: Imperialism and the Politics of Public Health in the United States / Edition 1

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Overview


By comparing institutions in Hawai'i and Louisiana designed to incarcerate individuals with a highly stigmatized disease, Colonizing Leprosy provides an innovative study of the complex relationship between U.S. imperialism and public health policy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Focusing on the Kalaupapa Settlement in Moloka'i and the U.S. National Leprosarium in Carville, Michelle Moran shows not only how public health policy emerged as a tool of empire in America's colonies, but also how imperial ideologies and racial attitudes shaped practices at home.

Although medical personnel at both sites considered leprosy a colonial disease requiring strict isolation, Moran demonstrates that they adapted regulations developed at one site for use at the other by changing rules to conform to ideas of how "natives" and "Americans" should be treated. By analyzing administrators' decisions, physicians' treatments, and patients' protests, Moran examines the roles that gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality played in shaping both public opinion and health policy. Colonizing Leprosy makes an important contribution to an understanding of how imperial imperatives, public health practices, and patient activism informed debates over the constitution and health of American bodies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Well written, draws on a broad range of primary sources, and deserves to be read as a cautionary tale of the destructive paring of stigma and paternalism, whether colonial or not."--Journal of American History

"This intelligent, nuanced, and carefully argued study approaches the U.S. experience with leprosy in a productive and revealing way. . . . Provides a useful model for doing comparative history. It is an excellent addition to the literature on modern empire."--American Historical Review

"An excellent and well written contribution to the literature on public health and leprosy."--Medical History

"A terrific case study of the complex interplay between core and periphery in the history of U.S. imperial public health. . . . A marvelous rendering of a complex story."--Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

"A fascinating study of this complicated and misunderstood disease. Bringing together narratives of diplomatic, medical, religious, and political history, [Moran] skillfully weaves a tapestry."--International History Review

"This innovative and rewarding book does what many others promise but rarely achieve. Colonizing Leprosy makes empire visible--palpable, almost--in disease control efforts within the continental United States. Moran shows how central the U.S. colonial experience became for public health at home."--Warwick Anderson, author of Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807858394
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2007
  • Series: Studies in Social Medicine Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michelle T. Moran is associate professor of history at Montgomery College.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction     1
Protecting the National Body     17
Creating a Colonial Disease     47
Sacred Duties, Public Spaces     74
Institutionalizing American Leprosy     104
Leprosy and Citizenship     133
Negotiating an End to Segregation     172
Epilogue     204
Notes     211
Bibliography     257
Index     273
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