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Locating the MedicalExplorations in South Asian History$
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Rohan Deb Roy and Guy N.A. Attewell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199486717

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199486717.001.0001

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Treacherous Minds, Submissive Bodies

Treacherous Minds, Submissive Bodies

Corporeal Technologies and Human Experimentation in Colonial India

Chapter:
(p.47) 2 Treacherous Minds, Submissive Bodies
Source:
Locating the Medical
Author(s):

Chandak Sengoopta

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199486717.003.0003

Whilst historians have extensively explored how hospitals, asylums or sanitation projects in British India reflected colonial ideas of racial difference, we know rather less about the influence of racial theories and stereotypes on technologies such as fingerprinting—evolved in colonial Bengal as an administrative tool but found applicable across the world—or, at the other extreme, ‘mesmeric surgery’, discarded in the metropole but experiencing a brief second life in colonial Bengal. Exploring these contrasting projects, both grounded in British theories about the nature of the bodies and minds of ‘natives’, the chapter suggests that the historiography of colonial medicine needs to expand its scope to include issues related to governmentality, corporeal technologies and knowledge transfer within and beyond the British Empire.

Keywords:   hospitals, asylums, sanitation projects, British India, colonial, racial difference, racial theories, stereotypes, fingerprinting, Bengal, administrative tool, ‘mesmeric surgery’, metropole, ‘natives’, governmentality, corporeal technologies, knowledge transfer, British Empire

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