Preprint Articles

Race in Circulation: Blood Banks and Forced Mobilities in the Eastern Mediterranean

Posted: 
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Summary: 

The emergence of blood transfusion services after the First World War provided new venues for nationalist and racial research. This paper focuses on racial serology in the Turkish Republic during the period between the 1920s and the 1970s, with particular attention to the role of the Greek-Turkish population exchange and the political conflict over Cyprus. These events entailed mass movements of refugees and violence based on communal identities, which were racialized through serological studies. As the blood of recently displaced people circulated through Greek and Turkish blood banks, physicians used data about blood types to substantiate historical hypotheses about past mobility. Through these genetic reconstructions of historical population movements, they took sides in contemporary territorial disputes. Beginning in the 1950s, the transnational conflict over Cyprus gradually transformed Turkish scientists’ representation of Greek Orthodox communities’ blood group frequencies, portraying them as “racially Turkish” rather than as biological others.

Toward a History of Health Care: Repositioning the Histories of Nursing and Medicine

Author(s): 
Posted: 
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Summary: 

This positioning paper presents a new paradigm for the history of both nursing and medicine that will involve studying these actors and their practices in relation to each other rather than, as we have done, in isolation. This is not to say that both disciplines have had the same orientation and the same ambitions. Nursing, as I argue, has had a more constant focus and impact on their particular communities; medicine, by contrast, more successfully articulated a commitment to depersonalized knowledge and expertise that seemed to transcend individual and community experiences. Yet these may be the two sides of the same proverbial coin. Nursing and medicine needed each other to make their particular claims to authority and expertise and, in the end, to achieve the success of their “scientific agenda.”

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A Thread of Life: Mahbub al-Mahmud and Medical Modernization in Early Twentieth-Century Morocco

Posted: 
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Summary: 

The medical auxiliary Mahboub al-Mahmoud (Tangier, 1888–ca. 1970) remains a neglected figure in the history of Morocco’s medical modernization. However, his life and professional trajectory can provide a fruitful standpoint from which to question the persisting nationalist bias that has pervaded the modest postcolonial medical historiography about that farthest corner of North Africa. Mahboub’s multiple mobilities—temporal, social, geographical, professional—transcend the “colonial fractures” created by the complex European partition of Morocco, which have resulted in Moroccans playing no significant role in the narratives of the origin and development of modern medicine in the country. This paper is divided into three sections, each of which deals with a distinctive phase of Mahboub’s itinerary, his connections with various groups of irregular medical practitioners, and the modernizing initiatives they embodied from the times of Hassan I’s late nineteenth-century reforms to the rise of Moroccan anticolonial nationalism in the 1930s.

Medical Mobilities in the Modern Middle East and North Africa

Posted: 
Monday, September 12, 2022
Summary: 

This themed section contributes to efforts to conceptualize medical mobility. It does so by observing medical histories within the Middle East while following concrete movements. This focus on what moves and how rather than on largely static and fixed units of analysis is central to the studies in this issue. The location of the Middle East, as a crossroad for imperial mobilities—is ideal for exploring transnational medical movements. Bringing together historians of the Middle East and North Africa, the articles explore intersections among medicine, health, and the body and histories of cross-regional mobility. This section spans the period from the early twentieth century to the 1970s. The articles are based on primary sources in Greek, Turkish, English, French, Spanish, and Arabic, located in the national archives of the UK, Israel, and Cyprus; in French diplomatic and military archives; and in the Overseas Nursing Association’s publications.

A Hospital of Her Own: British Nurses, Authority, and the Colonial Space in Interwar Palestine and Cyprus

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Posted: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Summary: 

During the interwar years, the Overseas Nursing Association (ONA) mobilized hundreds of British nurses throughout the empire. This article explores the experiences of ONA agents in Palestine and Cyprus, focusing on the context of their geographical and institutional allocations. By highlighting the spatial nuances of colonial nursing on the ground through two separate case studies, the author identifies recurrent motifs in nurses’ experiences, both within and across specific colonial boundaries. The article argues that localities had a profound influence on nurses’ day-to-day practice, authority, and attachment to the colonial space. The effect was articulated largely along the contrast between highly regulated, hierarchal spaces—located at government hospitals in urban centers—and remote settings that offered a more autonomous agency. Underlining the intricate relations between place and authority, the article thus offers new ways of understanding colonial nursing, and, more broadly, local-level imperial agency.

On All Fours: Transient Laborers, the Threat of Movement, and the Aftermath of Disease

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Posted: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Summary: 

African horse sickness (AHS) plagued the Middle East in 1944 for the first time. It spread into Palestine during a transformative period, as the role of animals as global migrant-laborers was shifting; soon after, automated machines would relieve their burden and transform the relations between farmers, traders, the state and its policing powers, and the global market. By following the movement and management of this outbreak of the disease, along with the movement of medical knowledge including techniques and tools of prevention and treatment, the article demonstrates that animal health and movement was a substantial matter of concern in British Palestine. It shows, furthermore, that AHS became a catalyst in dismantling the economic, social, and cultural value of animals of burden and their handlers.

Comment: Toward a History of Health Care: Repositioning the Histories of Nursing and Medicine

Author(s): 
Posted: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Summary: 

It is an honor to provide commentary on D’Antonio’s piece. My own thinking about and analyses of the history of nursing, including its relationship to the history of medicine, has long been deeply informed by D’Antonio’s scholarship, and this positioning piece will certainly influence my own scholarship moving forward. As I agree with D’Antonio’s call for historians to study nurses and physicians and their practices in relation to each other, I’m drawn, in particular, to the influence of “the structural apparatus governing the education and practices of all health care providers” (p. XX) and to the ways in which “dyads, interest groups, political factions of both groups of clinicians come together, break apart, dance around each other, and sometimes coalesce to create real change” (p. XX). To explore this further, I draw upon examples from the history of U.S. health care since World War II to highlight the intersections of governing structures, political economies, and the varied political interests of clinicians and health care leaders in the shaping of health care research and education and the health care workforce. I conclude by seconding D’Antonio’s call for historians of health care to be more expansive and inclusive with regard to the health care workers we study.

Comment: Toward a History of Health Care: Repositioning the Histories of Nursing and Medicine

Author(s): 
Posted: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Summary: 

D’Antonio’s thought-provoking positioning paper brims with astute insights and cogent critiques. At its most fundamental level, her essay calls for a new and more comprehensive history of healthcare, firmly grounded in the histories of both medicine and nursing. Rather than studying the two fields in isolation, D’Antonio insists, scholars should adopt a more inclusive, encompassing approach to medicine and nursing, one that is attuned to their entwined histories and mutually constitutive relationship. Such an approach promises to enrich both the history of medicine and the history of nursing, bringing needed innovation to each field. At the same time, it stands to better capture the complex histories of health, care, and the enterprise that is health care, in the United States and globally.

Comment: Toward a History of Health Care: Repositioning the Histories of Nursing and Medicine

Posted: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Summary: 

In her essay, “Toward a History of Health Care: Repositioning the Histories of Nursing and Medicine,” preeminent nursing historian Patricia D’Antonio makes a case for a paradigm shift. She argues that we should study nurses and physicians “in relation to each other rather than, as we have done, in isolation” in order to better understand modern medicine. She posits that the formulation of professional nursing may have fundamentally shaped not only nursing but “the very structure and practices of health care itself” (p. XX). D’Antonio argues convincingly that we have much to learn from uniting the histories of medicine and nursing.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Racism, and Remembrance

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Posted: 
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Summary: 

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. has long been a celebrated figure at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and in the history of medicine more generally. And yet in part on account of Holmes’s putative link to eugenics, but especially on account of his role as dean in the dismissal of the first three African American students at HMS in 1850, his name has recently become associated with systemic racism as well. In October 2020, the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society at HMS (one of the society “homes” to which students are assigned at admission) was renamed the William Augustus Hinton Society, in honor of the pioneering African American syphilologist. This paper examines the shifting depiction of Holmes as well as Holmes’s considerations of hereditary determinism and race over the course of his long career in the nineteenth century as a test case concerning the evolving evaluation of historical figures in the history of medicine.