Michael OsborneThe Emergence of Tropical Medicine in France

University of Chicago Press, 2014

by Carla Nappi on September 11, 2014

Michael Osborne

View on Amazon

In The Emergence of Tropical Medicine in France (University of Chicago Press, 2014), Michael Osborne offers a new way to think about and practice the history of colonial medicine. Eschewing pan-European or Anglo-centric models of the history of colonial medicine, Osborne’s book focuses on the centrality, transformations, and ultimate demise of naval medicine in France in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Motivating the central arguments and narrative of the book is a concern with place, places, and emplacement, and Osborne explores maritime medical practices and the ecology of disease in French provincial port cities, on ships, in prisons, in hospitals and schools, and beyond. The Emergence of Tropical Medicine in France pays special attention to how the study and conception of race, and its connection with health and disease, was formed and reformed in these settings. Readers with a special interest in the relationship between medicine and the military will find much to enjoy here, as will those who come to the book wanting to know more about the maritime history of diseases like Yellow Fever, lead poisoning, and Malaria. There’s also some wonderful storytelling here, including a fascinating account of a book-bomber in Chapter 4. It is a beautifully written account, and it should be required reading for those interested in the history of medicine and healing, of France, of the colonial medical past, and of place and locality.

{ 0 comments }

John TreschThe Romantic Machine: Utopian Science and Technology after Napoleon

September 5, 2014

John Tresch’s beautiful new book charts a series of transformations that collectively ushered in a new cosmology in the Paris of the early-mid nineteenth century. The Romantic Machine: Utopian Science and Technology after Napoleon  (University of Chicago Press, 2012) narrates the emergence of a new image of the machine, a new concept of nature, a [...]

Read the full article →

John ProteviLife, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences

August 22, 2014

Right now, humanists across very different disciplinary fields are trying to create the kinds of cross-disciplinary conversations that might open up new ways to conceptualize and ask questions of our objects of study. John Protevi’s new book offers a wonderfully stimulating conceptual toolbox for doing just that. Life, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences (University [...]

Read the full article →

Daryn LehouxWhat Did the Romans Know?: An Inquiry into Science and Worldmaking

August 16, 2014

Daryn Lehoux’s new book will forever change the way you think about garlic and magnets. What Did the Romans Know?: An Inquiry into Science and Worldmaking (University of Chicago Press, 2012) is a fascinating account of the co-production of facts and worlds, taking readers into the sciences of Rome from the first century BC to the second century [...]

Read the full article →

Gregory SmitsSeismic Japan: The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake

August 16, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in East Asian Studies] In two recent books, Gregory Smits offers a history of earthquakes and seismology in Japan that creates a wonderful dialogue between history and the sciences. Seismic Japan: The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake (University of Hawai’i Press, 2013) is a deeply contextualized study of the 1855 Ansei [...]

Read the full article →

David N. LivingstoneDealing with Darwin: Place, Politics, and Rhetoric in Religious Engagements with Evolution

August 6, 2014

David N. Livingstone’s new book traces the processes by which communities of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that shared the same Scottish Calvinist heritage engaged with Darwin and Darwinians in different local contexts. Dealing with Darwin: Place, Politics, and Rhetoric in Religious Engagements with Evolution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) locates evolutionary debates in particular sites and situations [...]

Read the full article →

William E. ConnollyThe Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism

July 30, 2014

Bill Connolly‘s new book proposes a way to think about the world as a gathering of self-organizing systems or ecologies, and from there explores the ramifications and possibilities of this notion for how we think about and practice work with markets, politics, daily life, and beyond. The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism (Duke [...]

Read the full article →

Alice ConklinIn the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology, and Empire in France, 1850-1950

July 29, 2014

[Cross-posted with permission from Jonathan Judaken's Counterpoint on WKNO in Memphis]. Host Jonathan Judaken and author Alice Conklin discuss the thorny relationship between science, society, and empire at the high water mark of French imperialism and European fascism, as well as this neglected chapter in the international history of the human sciences. In Memphis, and in America generally, [...]

Read the full article →

Ronen ShamirCurrent Flow: The Electrification of Palestine

July 23, 2014

Ronen Shamir’s new book is a timely and thoughtful study of the electrification of Palestine in the early twentieth century. Current Flow: The Electrification of Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2013) makes use of Actor-Network Theory as a methodology to trace the processes involved in constructing a powerhouse and assembling an electric grid in 1920s Palestine. [...]

Read the full article →

Tine M. GammeltoftHaunting Images: A Cultural Account of Selective Reproduction in Vietnam

July 22, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in East Asian Studies] Tine Gammeltoft’s new book explores the process of reproductive decision making in contemporary Hanoi. Haunting Images: A Cultural Account of Selective Reproduction in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2014) develops an anthropology of belonging, paying special attention to the ways that women and their communities understand and make decisions based on [...]

Read the full article →