Inventing Caribbean Climates

Mark Carey, “Inventing Caribbean Climates: How Science, Medicine and Tourism Changed Tropical Weather from Deadly to Healthy,” Osiris 26, no. 1 (2011): 129-141. In this piece, Carey traces changing European and North American perceptions of Caribbean climates from 1750-1950. He argues that these understandings were not shaped only by the climactic science; rather, they were constructed around … More Inventing Caribbean Climates

Purity and Danger

Questions: Douglas claims that the book is “a late blow struck in the battle which anthropology in the 1940s and 1950s was fighting against racism.” What characterized this “battle,” and was it within or without the field itself? Why this time period? Are all anthropologists social constructionists, or have we just been reading a lot … More Purity and Danger

Water Cures and Science

George Weisz, “Water Cures and Science: The french Academy of Medicine and Mineral Waters in the Nineteenth Century,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 64, no. 3 (1990): 393-416. In this piece, Weisz discusses institutional and individual attempts in nineteenth century France to place mineral waters and the therapies that involved them on a biomedical, … More Water Cures and Science

Chemistry, Medicine, and the Legitimization of English Spas, 1740-1840

Christopher Hamlin, “Chemistry, Medicine, and the Legitimization of English Spas, 1740-1840,” Medical History, Supplement No. 10 (1990): 67-81. Hamlin, much like he does in A Science of Impurity, discusses the role of chemistry in the legitimization of health spas. He argues that their domination of the conversation was not due to any sort of revolution … More Chemistry, Medicine, and the Legitimization of English Spas, 1740-1840

Medical advertising and trust in late Georgian England

Hannah Barker, “Medical advertising and trust in late Georgian England,” Urban History 36, no. 3 (2009): 379-398. Baker brings sociological theories of trust to bear on the proliferation of medical advertisements in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in four English towns. Using a statistical approach, she evaluates what sorts of rhetorical strategies were … More Medical advertising and trust in late Georgian England

“The Most Difficult Part of Chemistry”

Noel G. Coley, “Physicians, Chemists and the Analysis of Mineral Waters: ‘The Most Difficult Part of Chemistry,’” Medical History, Supplement no. 10 (1990): 56-66. Coley approaches the historical practice of analyzing mineral waters as someone interested in the development and refinement of analytical chemistry techniques. This isn’t particularly useful for my research, but her work does provide … More “The Most Difficult Part of Chemistry”

Imperial Leather

Overall impression: If you’re looking for an example of intersectionality — the idea that gender, race, and class are categories that create and reinforce on another — this book is an excellent example of a history where those issues are addressed without losing any of their complexity. I really get what people are saying about … More Imperial Leather