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Trade, conquest and therapeutics in the eighteenth century

Medicine was transformed in the eighteenth century. Aligning the trajectories of intellectual and material wealth, this book uncovers how medicine acquired a new materialism as well as new materials in the context of global commerce and warfare. It studies the expansion of medicine as it acquired new materials and methods in an age of discovery and shows how eighteenth-century therapeutics encapsulates the intellectual and material resources of conquest. Bringing together a wide range of sources, the book argues that the intellectual developments in European medicine were inextricably linked to histories of conquest, colonisation and the establishment of colonial institutions. Medicine in the eighteenth-century colonies was shaped by the two main products of European mercantilism: minerals and spices. Forts and hospitals were often established as the first signs of British settlement in enemy territories, like the one in Navy Island. The shifting fortunes on the Coromandel Coast over the eighteenth century saw the decline of traditional ports like Masulipatnam and the emergence of Madras as the centre of British trade. The book also explores the emergence of materia medica and medical botany at confluence of the intellectual, spiritual and material quests. Three different forms of medical knowledge acquired by the British in the colonies: plants (columba roots and Swietenia febrifuga), natural objects and indigenous medical preparations (Tanjore pills). The book examines the texts, plants, minerals, colonial hospitals, dispensatories and the works of surgeons, missionaries and travellers to demonstrate that these were shaped by the material constitution of eighteenth century European colonialism.

A case study in colonial Bildungskarikatur

's imperial powers manifests itself in a number of characterological traits, including materialism, unscrupulousness, and belligerence. Thus, in an article otherwise focused on Mexico, one writer for Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine observes that ‘Jonathan, who thinks himself born to lay hold on every scrap of the globe by which he can turn one cent into two … frees himself from all scruples’. 39 This unprincipled grasping after money may once have made ‘Jonathan … a monstrous funny fellow in his way’, but ‘this funny way of

in Comic empires
Swiss missionaries and anthropology

expressed in areas uncorrupted by the contrived and frivolous materialism of the towns. The deferential attitudes of European peasants seemed little different from the uncorrupted simplicity of obliging blacks that missionaries read about in popular novels, the tracts of the anti-slavery movement, and a gathering tide of Sunday school literature. This led missionaries to conceive of

in Ordering Africa
The cultural work of nakedness in imperial Britain

materialism is not far from the surface in this passage: From what I have said of the Natives of New-Holland they may appear to some to be the most wretched people upon Earth, but in reality they are far more happier than we Europeans … They live in a Tranquillity which is not disturb’d by the Inequality of

in The cultural construction of the British world
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

. Effort and service are uppermost. What he is really endeavouring to rescue is the idea of romance from the destructive self-interest of materialism. Conrad’s own pronouncement in a letter written in 1922 that ‘explicitness is fatal to the glamour of all artistic work, robbing it of all suggestiveness, destroying all illusion’, 30 has often been cited as offering a rationale for

in Travellers in Africa

jackboots who preaches materialism in philosophy and fascism in politics. Social Darwinism enables her to pursue her ends without regard to her means: Those who are weak must perish; the earth is to the strong, and the fruits thereof. For every tree that grows a score shall wither, that the strong one may take their share

in Imperium of the soul
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Empire and music

reinstate spirituality in the teeth of vulgar materialism and practical life. 15 He compares music to literature. Both are necessarily programmatic, both acting to express something deeper than the events they contain, to express the essence of that experience. Already in 1906 Professor Frederick Niecks had come to that

in Imperialism and music
Crisis and narrative

’s English qualities lines up an opposition to the sense of the newly visible commercialism of the period, reflected in the leadership and sponsorship of the expedition. Barttelot, we are told, sought only the abstract profit of service acknowledged, not the vulgar materialism of money-grabbers. His brother’s compulsion to save his ‘name’ extends to a defence of a class that feels itself in danger because

in Travellers in Africa
Abstract only
The British Empire Exhibition and national histories of art

, that the art of all the Dominions was shown together alongside British art for the first time. This allowed British critics, the educated public and the participants themselves to make comparisons and evaluate how far these new societies had progressed along the road of cultural development, moving away from what critics had observed to be ‘sheer materialism’ of the art produced in the early years of settlement, and towards becoming true civilisations. Among the participating nations – Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and

in Rethinking settler colonialism
The forging of European temporal identities

influence of what Jacques Le Goff has called ‘merchant’s time’. 41 The rise of mercantilism from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries successfully introduced a form of temporal materialism that challenged the hegemonic status previously enjoyed by the Church’s sacred monopoly on time. In the process of this amalgamation, ‘merchant’s time’ and ‘God’s time’ gradually came to share the role of

in The colonisation of time