Nursing and medical records in the Imperial War in Ethiopia (1935–36)
Anna La Torre, Giancarlo Celeri Bellotti and Cecilia Sironi
A sample of Italian Fascist
colonialism: nursing and medical
records in the Imperial War in
Anna La Torre, Giancarlo Celeri Bellotti and Cecilia Sironi
Introduction: historical background
The Italo-Ethiopian War (also known as the Abyssinian War or the
Second Italo-Ethiopian War) refers to an armed conflict waged by
Italy during Mussolini’s regime against the Empire of Ethiopia in
1935, which led to the proclamation of Africa Orientale Italiana
(Italian East Africa) in 1936.2 The history of Italian colonialism
started approximately fifty
Colonial Caring covers over a century of colonial nursing by nurses from a wide range of countries including: Denmark, Britain, USA, Holland and Italy; with the colonised countries including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Nigeria, India, Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) and the Danish West Indies. It presents unique perspectives from which to interrogate colonialism and post-colonialism including aspects of race, cultural difference and implications of warfare and politics upon nursing. Viewing nursing’s development under colonial and post-colonial rule reveals different faces of a profession that superficially may appear to be consistent and coherent, yet in reality is constantly reinventing itself. Considering such areas as transnational relationships, class, gender, race and politics, this book aims to present current work in progress within the field, to better understand the complex entanglements in nursing’s development as it was imagined and practised in local imperial, colonial and post-colonial contexts. Taking a chronologically-based structure, early chapters examine nursing in situations of conflict in the post-Crimean period from the Indian Rebellion to the Anglo-Boer War. Recruitment, professionalisation of nursing and of military nursing in particular, are therefore considered before moving deeper into the twentieth century reflecting upon later periods of colonialism in which religion and humanitarianism become more central. Drawing from a wide range of sources from official documents to diaries, memoirs and oral sources, and using a variety of methodologies including qualitative and quantitative approaches, the book represents ground-breaking work.
The hygienic utopia in Jules Verne, Camille Flammarion, and William
Otis has shown that the germ theory of disease was crucially intertwined in the late nineteenth century with concepts of invasion and colonialism, especially in France and Britain: ‘if one believes that invisible germs, spread by human contact, can make one sick, one becomes more and more anxious about penetration and about any connection with other people – the same anxieties inspired by imperialism’.
These comments are particularly pertinent to the context of Bégum and Uranie , written after France's bitter
University Press, 1995); J. C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998); G. C. Bowker and S. Star, Sorting Things Out (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999); N. Dirks, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001); Weisz, Divide and Conquer , pp. xix–xx.
87 This is not to suggest that inscription, categorisation, or standardisation had been absent in British medicine. Rather that such practices (and
Daktar Binodbihari Ray Kabiraj and the metaphorics of the
nineteenth-century Ayurvedic body
Projit Bihari Mukharji
On modern Unani medicine, see N. Quaiser, ‘Politics, Culture and Colonialism: Unani's Debate with Doctory’, in B. Pati and M. Harrison (eds), Health, Medicine and Empire: Perspectives on Colonial India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2001), 317–55; S. Alavi, Islam and Healing: Loss and Recovery of an Indo-Muslim Medical Tradition, 1600–1900 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); G. N. A. Attewell, Refiguring Unani Tibb: Plural Healing in Late Colonial India (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2007). On modern Siddha
Community Medicine? ; S. Murphy, ‘The early days of the MRC Social Medicine Research Unit’, Social History of Medicine , 12:3 (1999), 389–406; V. Berridge, Marketing Health: Smoking and the Discourse of Public Health in Britain, 1945–2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 15–16.
86 M. D. Moore, ‘Harnessing the power of difference: colonialism and British chronic disease research, 1940–1975’, Social History of Medicine , 29:2 (2016), 384–404.
87 T. Osborne, ‘Epidemiology as an investigative paradigm: the
Narratives of balance and moderation at the limits of human
University of Adelaide special collections, W. V. Macfarlane Papers 1947–1985 (MS0006). WV Macfarlane, ‘Water, Salt and Food for Tropical Medicine’, n.d.
Such use of the colonial and post-colonial ‘other’ as a subject is echoed in research into chronic diseases too: see M. Moore, ‘Harnessing the power of difference: colonialism and British chronic disease research, 1940
spoke English.6 Thus in 1905 Irish mission work in Nigeria grew
Barbra Mann Wall
when Irish-born Bishop Joseph Shanahan took over leadership of
the Holy Ghost mission in Calabar (the eastern region).7 Soon, Irish
missionaries dominated in the area. Because colonial powers’ religion
was Christianity, this granted the Irish missions a distinct advantage,
and they benefited from British colonialism.8 Catholic mission personnel co-operated with colonial leaders who wanted the Catholics to
run hospitals and schools, while Catholic missionaries wanted access
Contextualising colonial and post-colonial nursing
Helen Sweet and Sue Hawkins
This omission has already been addressed in the closely related field
of history of medicine through a number of publications over a long
period of time,2 and this book aims to help correct the balance for
The history of nursing presents a unique perspective from which
to interrogate colonialism and post-colonialism, which includes
aspects of race and cultural difference, as well as class and gender.
Simultaneously, viewing nursing’s development under colonial and
post-colonial rule can reveal the different faces of what, on the surface, may
organised remained vital elements of the community.
The conjunction of colonial and post-colonial history and the
history of nursing enables us to better appreciate the multiplicities of colonialism and post-colonialism and the diversity within
Rima D. Apple
the nursing profession. By bringing together studies from around
the world from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century,
Colonial Caring: A History of Colonial and Post-colonial Nursing
allows us to untangle the complications inherent in any historical study of nursing. The overlapping foci of these