while evoking a familiar psychical world for their Chinese consumers. Taking the extensive history of the pills into account thus complicates the accepted narrative of advertising as the major driving force of urban modernity in Shanghai and offers a more nuanced account of the way hybridity – not only cultural, but also temporal – was strategically mobilised to articulate a distinctly Chinese vision of twentieth-century society. 4 Studies of advertising content in this historical
other side. The history of the pill, and with it the history of the synthetic production of oestrogen and progesterone, is deeply rooted in disciplinary policy regimes and postcolonial power relations. The pill can be seen as the scientific outcome of US policy efforts of the 1950s and 1960s to restrict the reproductive power of non-white or deviant women; and as such it is closely linked with other techniques of ‘public hygiene’ (Preciado, 2013 : 176) in a Foucauldian sense. When clinical trials in prisons and psychiatric
The Business of Birth Control uncovers the significance of contraceptives as commodities in Britain before the Pill. Drawing on neglected promotional and commercial material, the book demonstrates how hundreds of companies transformed condoms and rubber and chemical pessaries into branded consumer goods that became widely available via birth control clinics, chemists’ shops and vending machines, and were discreetly advertised in various forms of print. With its focus on the interwar period, the book demonstrates how contraceptive commodification shaped sexual and birth control knowledge and practice at a time when older, more restrictive moral values surrounding sexuality uncomfortably co-existed with a modern vision of the future premised on stability wrought by science, medicine and technology. Commodification was a contested process that came into conflict with attempts by the State, doctors and the birth control movement to medicalise birth control, and by social purity groups that sought to censor the trade in order to uphold their prescribed standards of sexual morality and maintain sexual ignorance among much of the population. Of wide interest to modern historians, the book not only serves as an important reminder that businesses were integral to shaping medical, economic, social and cultural attitudes towards sex and birth control but also sheds greater light on the ambiguities, tensions and struggles of interwar Britain more broadly. Without such interwar struggles, the contraceptive Pill may not have received its revolutionary status.
, from Brazil to Madras. 5 Further incorporation of the commercial perspective into birth control history also has the potential to enhance our understanding of subsequent changes in contraceptive supply and birth control behaviour. Negotiations over contraceptive availability continued into the arguably more socially conservative era of the 1950s, but the contradictions of the interwar period were not resolved by the introduction of the Pill in 1961 and its availability to the unmarried from 1968. Most historical studies of the Pill have emphasised that its tablet
distribution. But in characterising contraceptives before the Pill as technologies representing sexual taboo or liberation, smaller or larger families, pregnancy or non-pregnancy, and efficacy or failure, historians have commonly overlooked the meanings of these objects as goods in the marketplace. Commercial meanings have, however, been a relatively recent historiographic omission. Reflective of their own time of post-war affluence, mass consumerism and the widespread availability of contraceptives in ‘the permissive society’, historians of the 1960s and 1970s highlighted
the nursing leadership did not alter this view. As Nzenza illustrated, ‘They all wanted to be the first to discover a pregnant student nurse. Pregnancy meant immediate dismissal. The matron even went to the extent of going to the nearest Family Planning Centre to find out which student nurse was registered on the pill.’ 48 It is possible that the yearly average of pregnancy among nursing students was high during the colonial period. Nursing students used various coping strategies to assert their independence. Interviews suggested the prevalence of sneaking out and
Pharmacist-historians have followed the lead of the British Medical Association's (BMA) exposés of ‘Secret Remedies’ in the 1900s, in disparaging the man and his medicines. The pills were revealed to be mostly composed of ineffectual ingredients: aloes, powdered ginger and soap. 59 Edwardian doctors often wrote of public gullibility in repeat purchases of such concoctions, though as Harvey Young presumed, much of their efficacy and market success must be due to placebo effects. 60
Explaining how leprosy was considered in various historical settings by referring to categories of uncleanliness in antiquity, is problematic. The book historicizes how leprosy has been framed and addressed. It investigates the history of leprosy in Suriname, a plantation society where the vast majority of the population consisted of imported slaves from Africa. The relationship between the modern stigmatization and exclusion of people affected with leprosy, and the political tensions and racial fears originating in colonial slave society, exerting their influence until after the decolonization up to the present day. The book explores leprosy management on the black side of the medical market in the age of slavery as contrasted with the white side. The difference in perspectives on leprosy between African slaves and European masters contributed to the development of the 'Great Confinement' policies, and leprosy sufferers were sent to the Batavia leprosy asylum. Dutch debates about leprosy took place when the threat of a 'return' of leprosy to the Netherlands appeared to materialise. A symbiotic alliance for leprosy care that had formed between the colonial state and the Catholics earlier in the nineteenth century was renegotiated within the transforming landscape of Surinamese society to incorporate Protestants as well. By 1935, Dutch colonial medicine had dammed the growing danger of leprosy by using the modern policies of detection and treatment. Dutch doctors and public health officials tried to come to grips with the Afro-Surinamese belief in treef and its influence on the execution of public health policies.
exhaustion in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. By the time they made their appearance in Shanghai in the early decades of the twentieth century, however, Dr Williams’ pills were widely derided in England and North America as an archetypal example of quackery, with commentators identifying the pills’ continued ubiquity as a sign of the public's refusal to recognise scientific progress. Like the ‘traditional’ medicines evoked by Mukharji in the previous chapter, patent medicines were now associated with notions of backwardness and regression, particularly when
Birth Control Investigation Committee. 5 Leathard, The Fight for Family Planning ; B. Evans, Freedom to Choose: The Life and Work of Dr. Helena Wright, Pioneer of Contraception (London: Bodley Head, 1984), p. 146; Löwy, ‘“Sexual chemistry” before the Pill’. Recent exceptions include Borge ‘“Wanting it Both Ways”’; Neushul, ‘Marie C. Stopes’. 6 Holz, The Birth Control Clinic , p. 2. 7 Stopes also asked Lambert to supply some rubber (‘Racial’) and sea sponges of each size, BL, Add. MS 58638, letter by Stopes to Lamberts 20 April 1928; MS 58639, 24