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Tropical invalids: climate and culture in nineteenth-century British natural history

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In the late nineteenth century, British medical texts began to characterize the colonial tropics as hazardous, inhospitable environments threatening refined European constitutions with a multitude of exotic diseases, to the point that colonials returning from tropical areas were “profiled” as medically problematic, i.e., “tropical invalids.” To close our Michaelmas Cabinet Term this coming Monday, 27 November, Salim Al-Gailani (HPS, Cambridge University) will explore how former Indian medical men invested the return of ‘tropical invalids’ to Britain with physiological, psychological and cultural meaning, and in that course described essential elements of the colonial experience and how it helped to shape the communication and reception of medical knowledge across the British Empire.

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

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