Over the last several decades, historians of public health in Britain's colonies have been primarily concerned with the process of policy making in the upper echelons of the medical and sanitary administrations. Yet it was the lower level staff that formed the backbone of public health systems in the colonies. Although they constituted the bases of many colonies' public health machinery, there is no consolidated study of these individuals to date. Public Health in the British Empire addresses this gap by bringing together historians studying intermediary and subordinate staff across the British Empire. Along with investigating the duties and responsibilities of medical and non-medical intermediary and subordinate personnel, the contributors to this volume show how the subjectivity of these agents influenced the manner in which they discharged their duties and how this in turn shaped policy. Even those working as low level assistants and aids were able to affect policy design.
In this way, Public Health in the British Empire brings into sharp relief the disaggregated nature of the empire, thereby challenging the understanding of the imperial project as an enterprise conceived of and driven from the center.
Introduction. Amna Khalid and Ryan Johnson 1. The Control of Birth: Pupil Midwives in Nineteenth Century Madras. Sean Lang 2. "Unscientific and Insanitary": Hereditary Sweepers and Customary Rights in the United Provinces. Amna Khalid 3. "Left in the Hands of Subordinates": Medicine, Language, and Power in the Colonial Medical Institutions of Egypt and India. James Mills 4. Surviving the Colonial Institution: Workers and Patients in the Government Hospitals of Mid Nineteenth Century Jamaica. Margaret Jones 5. "A Laudable Experiment": Infant Welfare Work and Medical Intermediaries in Early Twentieth Century Barbados. Juanita De Barros 6. Burmese Health Officers in the Transformation of Public Health in Colonial Burma in the 1920s and 1930s. Atsuko Naono 7. Mantsemei, Interpreters, and the Successful Eradication of Plague: The 1908 Plague Epidemic in Colonial Accra. Ryan Johnson 8. Medical Training, African Auxiliaries, and Social Healing in Colonial. Mwinilunga, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), 1945-1964. Walima T. Kalusa 9. The Mid-Level Health Worker in South Africa: The In-Between Condition of the "Middle". Anne Digby