Dane Kennedy
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The perils of the midday sun
Climatic anxieties in the colonial tropics
in Imperialism and the natural world
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This chapter examines the resurgence of concern about the tropical climate, the range and forms of its expression, the significance that contemporaries drew from it, and the forces that led to its eventual demise. It focuses on the Anglo-American scene, the subject preoccupied all the major colonial powers and the debate it engendered was truly pan-Western in scope. Even though much of this debate was carried out in medical journals and other specialised publications, its influence ranged far beyond the conventional boundaries of tropical medicine and climatology, filtering into the world at large. The climatic debate acted on and reacted to the beliefs and behaviour of Europeans residing in the tropics. It provided commentary on the political choices and constraints of Western imperialism itself. Dr Charles Edward Woodruff applied the scientific authority of modern physics to traditional anxieties about the tropical climate, giving new force to their credibility.

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