Stephen Snelders
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For Caribbean plantation economies to function and prosper, European colonizers needed Others, African slaves. In Empire, Michael Hardt and Toni Negri write about this production of Others, the creation of racial boundaries, and the dark Other as the negative component of European identity as well as the economic foundation of European economic systems. The modern history of leprosy cannot be understood without exploring this production of Others, which permeated colonial medicine in eighteenth- century Dutch Suriname and the Caribbean. Leprosy was racialized and sexualized, and this introduced a distinct moral component to descriptions of the leprosy sufferer. In the stigmatization of the leprosy sufferer, the horrendous nature of the disease, the visible violation of purity, and the transgression of supernatural taboos, all played important roles.

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Leprosy and colonialism

Suriname under Dutch rule, 1750– 1950


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