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Dogs, snakes, venoms and germs, 1840–68
Peter Hobbins

Public demonstrations helped establish the dangerous action of snake venom through the mid-nineteenth century, but they provided little elucidation as to its nature. Was it animal, germinal or chemical? This fundamental question proved ontological in two senses. First, venom provided an exemplar of an ontological agent of disease: a discrete entity causing a

in Venomous encounters
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
C. Lejewski
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Editor: Howard Chiang

This collection expands the history of Chinese medicine by bridging the philosophical concerns of epistemology and the history and cultural politics of transregional medical formations. Topics range from the spread of gingko’s popularity from East Asia to the West to the appeal of acupuncture for complementing in-vitro fertilization regimens, from the modernization of Chinese anatomy and forensic science to the evolving perceptions of the clinical efficacy of Chinese medicine.

The individual essays cohere around the powerful theoretical-methodological approach, “historical epistemology,” with which scholars in science studies have already challenged the seemingly constant and timeless status of such rudimentary but pivotal dimensions of scientific process as knowledge, reason, argument, objectivity, evidence, fact, and truth. Yet given that landmark studies in historical epistemology rarely navigate outside the intellectual landscape of Western science and medicine, this book broadens our understanding of its application and significance by drawing on and exploring the rich cultures of Chinese medicine. In studying the globalizing role of medical objects, the contested premise of medical authority and legitimacy, and the syncretic transformations of metaphysical and ontological knowledge, contributors illuminate how the breadth of the historical study of Chinese medicine and its practices of knowledge-making in the modern period must be at once philosophical and transnational in scope.

This book will appeal to students and scholars working in science studies and medical humanities as well as readers who are interested in the broader problems of translation, material culture, and the global circulation of knowledge.

Thompson as writer, reader and critic
Luke Spencer

analytical horse. Thompson’s insistence on literature as agency relies, of course, upon the ontological security of the author, an idea which it has been the business of much contemporary literary theory, from Barthes onwards, to discredit. His firm belief in authorial intention and the moral autonomy of imaginative writing puts Thompson squarely in the opposite camp to Barthes and Derrida; just as his defence of what he calls ‘the empirical idiom’ and of the value of personal experience in historical writing sets him against Althusser and Anderson. Yet it should be said

in E. P. Thompson and English radicalism
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Snakes, vivisection and scientific medicine in colonial Australia
Author: Peter Hobbins

From the day that Europeans first stepped ashore to occupy the Australian continent, they were never alone. If colonists took comfort from the presence of these familiar beasts, they remained less certain of the indigenous creatures they encountered. This book argues that the practice of vivisection inextricably linked familiar animals and venomous snakes in colonial Australia, and offers a new perspective, inter alia, on science and medicine in the colonial antipodes. Public vivisections to study envenomation and antidotes established standards of proof and authority which were followed, rather than led, by learned professionals. The book establishes the concept of the colonial animal matrix, elaborating how white settlers related both to the domestic species that landed alongside them and the autochthonous animals they encountered up to 1840. By the early 1850s, plebeian expertise had established vivisection as the prime means of knowing venomous animals in Australia. Instruments and living experiments became necessary to establish objective medical facts in the antipodes. By the time that Britain legislatively regulated vivisection in mid-1876, animal experimentation had independently become de rigueur for colonial investigations of envenomation and remedies. Seeking an effective remedy for snakebite was considered sufficient reason to lessen moral consideration for animals such as dogs, involved in such experiments. Clinical experience appeared largely to trump vivisectional data for much of the 1890s. Yet, when a 'universal' antivenene appeared, predicated upon the new science of immunology, its efficacy was concomitantly discredited by the novel technologies of experimental medicine.

Dorothy Porter

dosage plans ignores broader dimensions of balancing cultural conflict surrounding ontological and emergent meanings of the disease and the transcendent metaphysics of creativity. In this way it speaks directly to the central themes of this volume, which addresses the contingent scientific and clinical normativities of physiological and psychological balance and their relationship to models of the self. 10 Drawing out the historical determinants of contingently normative neo-humoralism threaded through the story of

in Balancing the self
A conceptual history 1200–1900

This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.

Bussing, race and urban space, 1960s–80s
Author: Olivier Esteves

In 1960–62, a large number of white autochthonous parents in Southall became very concerned that the sudden influx of largely non-Anglophone Indian immigrant children in local schools would hold back their children’s education. It was primarily to placate such fears that ‘dispersal’ (or ‘bussing’) was introduced in areas such as Southall and Bradford, as well as to promote the integration of mostly Asian children. It consisted in sending busloads of immigrant children to predominantly white suburban schools, in an effort to ‘spread the burden’. This form of social engineering went on until the early 1980s. This book, by mobilising local and national archival material as well as interviews with formerly bussed pupils in the 1960s and 1970s, reveals the extent to which dispersal was a flawed policy, mostly because thousands of Asian pupils were faced with racist bullying on the playgrounds of Ealing, Bradford, etc. It also investigates the debate around dispersal and the integration of immigrant children, e.g. by analysing the way some Local Education Authorities (Birmingham, London) refused to introduce bussing. It studies the various forms that dispersal took in the dozen or so LEAs where it operated. Finally, it studies local mobilisations against dispersal by ethnic associations and individuals. It provides an analysis of debates around ‘ghetto schools’, ‘integration’, ‘separation’, ‘segregation’ where quite often the US serves as a cognitive map to make sense of the English situation.

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Author: John Potvin

Richly illustrated with over 110 colour and black and white images, the book productively contests the supposedly exclusive feminine aspect of the style moderne (art deco). It explores how alternative, parallel and overlapping experiences and expressions of decorative modernism, nationalism, gender and sexuality in the heady years surrounding World War I converge in the protean figure of the deco dandy. As such, the book significantly departs from and corrects the assumptions and biases that have dominated scholarship on and popular perceptions of art deco. The book outlines how designed products and representations of and for the dandy both existed within and outwith normative expectations of gender and sexuality complicating men’s relationship to consumer culture more broadly and the moderne more specifically. Through a sustained focus on the figure of the dandy, the book offers a broader view of art deco by claiming a greater place for the male body and masculinity in this history than has been given to date. The mass appeal of the dandy in the 1920s was a way to redeploy an iconic, popular and well-known typology as a means to stimulate national industries, to engender a desire for all things made in France. Important, essential and productive moments in the history of the cultural life of Paris presented in the book are instructive of the changing role performed by consumerism, masculinity, design history and national identity.