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.
History through material culture provides a practical introduction for researchers who wish to use objects and material culture as primary sources for the study of the past. The book focuses primarily on the period 1500 to the present day, but the principles put forward are equally applicable to studies of earlier historical eras. Histories of the last five centuries have been driven to a remarkable extent by textual records and it is with this in mind that History through material culture offers researchers a step-by-step guide to approaching the material evidence that survives from this period. Anticipating that many researchers will feel under-skilled or lacking in confidence in tackling artefacts of the past, the book traces the process of research from the framing of research questions through to the writing up of findings – giving particular attention to the ways in which objects can be located, accessed and understood. This practical guidance is augmented by the use of examples of seminal and contemporary scholarship in this interdisciplinary field, so that readers can see how particular approaches to sources have been used to develop historical narratives and arguments. It is written in accessible and jargon-free language with clear explanations of more complex discourses. In this way, the book demystifies both the process of researching objects and the way research practice relates to published scholarship.
There are, as we have seen, very many reasons for historians to be interested in the insights that material culture can unlock. However, for objects to yield rewards we must employ tried and tested strategies for examining them. Such established approaches have emerged from distinct disciplines and professional practices, which have their own histories and intellectual concerns. This chapter provides an introduction to the origins of historical material culture studies in terms of both academic research and museum practice, so that we can understand not
Materialities of displacement:
borders in contemporary Macedonia
The 246 km long border between the Republic of Macedonia (hereinafter
Macedonia) and Greece sets off at Lake Prespa, crosses the fertile Pelagonia valley,
runs across the steep mountainous wedges of the Nidze and Kozuf mountains, cuts
short the valley of the river Vardar, and ends north of the Dojran Lake in eastern
Macedonia (see Figure 8.1). The two countries are connected by three border
crossings: Medzitlija-Niki near the towns of Bitola-Florina, Bogorodica-Evzoni
Materiality has long been tied to the political projects of nationalism and capitalism. But how are we to rethink borders in this context? Is the border the limit where the capitalist nation-state, contested and re-created at its centre, becomes fixed? Or is it something else? Is the border something, or does it instead do things? This volume brings questions of materiality to bear specifically on the study of borders. These questions address specifically the shift from ontology to process in thinking about borders. The political materialities of borders does not presume the material aspect of borders but rather explores the ways in which any such materiality comes into being. Through ethnographic and philosophical explorations of the ontology of borders and its limitations from the perspective of materiality, this volume seeks to throw light on the interaction between the materiality of state borders and the non-material aspects of state-making. This enables a new understanding of borders as productive of the politics of materiality, on which both the state project rests, including its multifarious forms in the post-nation-state era.
This book is about the relationship between myth-making and historical materiality. It is a singular case study of the position and experience of women in a 'peripheral' society distanced - geographically, economically and culturally - from the British mainland. The book first looks at women and gender relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through examination of the construction of historical myth. It then looks at economic and demographic factors that underpinned the materiality of women's dominance of culture. An understanding of women's work patterns and experiences is central to any analysis of women's lives in Shetland and the gender relations contingent upon this. Shetland women were autonomous, independent workers whose day-to-day productive experiences implicated them in all sorts of social and economic relationships outside the home. The book argues that women's culture in Shetland actually had only a marginal connection to the islands' dominant economic activity - fishing. It also argues that the negligible figures for children born outside wedlock are a poor guide to understanding the moral order in nineteenth-century Shetland. Like the new visitors to Shetland, the historians of the early twenty-first century would ordinarily reach the same conclusions. They would do so, at root, because the authors are equipped with the same myth system of discourse about what constitutes women's subordination and power. The book seeks to navigate the issue of 'power' by approaching it in terms which the Shetland woman understood in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
West Indies, Greenland and Asia. 3 The
Orientalists under William Jones, on the other hand, were searching for the common
civilizational roots across Asia and Europe. 4 At the same time, these pursuits were also linked to the material context
of eighteenth-century colonialism and defined by the maritime and territorial power of the
EEIC. This chapter will describe how these developments shaped the emergence of imperial
materia medica. The term materia medica has been loosely used by naturalists
Materiality, imbrication, and the longue
durée of Greco-Turkish borders
Borders are irreducibly material structures. Even when they refer to non-material
categories (e.g. difference, mental borders, disciplinary boundaries) the image
conjured up to conceptualize these is that of a state border, drawn as a line on a
map and policed with people and infrastructure on the ground. And yet attempts
to understand these precise borders in their materiality have shown time and again
in border studies that this ‘line’ is a ruse, that the more we take
Anglo-Saxon ‘things’ could talk. Nonhuman voices leap out from the Exeter Book Riddles, telling us how they were made or how they behave. In The Husband’s Message, runic letters are borne and a first-person speech is delivered by some kind of wooden artefact. Readers of The Dream of the Rood will come across a tree possessing the voice of a dreaming human in order to talk about its own history as a gallows and a rood. The Franks Casket is a box of bone that alludes to its former fate as a whale that swam aground onto the shingle, and the Ruthwell monument is a stone column that speaks as if it were living wood, or a wounded body. This book uncovers the voice and agency that these nonhuman things have across Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture. It makes a new contribution to ‘thing theory’ and rethinks conventional divisions between animate human subjects and inanimate nonhuman objects in the early Middle Ages. Anglo-Saxon writers and craftsmen describe artefacts and animals through riddling forms or enigmatic language, balancing an attempt to speak and listen to things with an understanding that these nonhumans often elude, defy and withdraw from us. The active role that things have in the early medieval world is also linked to the Germanic origins of the word, where a þing is a kind of assembly, with the ability to draw together other elements, creating assemblages in which human and nonhuman forces combine. Anglo-Saxon things teach us to rethink the concept of voice as a quality that is not simply imposed upon nonhumans but which inheres in their ways of existing and being in the world; they teach us to rethink the concept of agency as arising from within groupings of diverse elements, rather than always emerging from human actors alone.
John Lydgate’s ‘Soteltes for the coronation banquet of Henry VI’
John Lydgate’s ‘Soteltes for the coronation
banquet of Henry VI’
Allone as I went vp and doun,
I ane abbay wes fair to se,
Thinkand quhat consolatioun
Wes best in to aduersitie,
On cais I kest on syd myne e
And saw this writtin vpoun a wall:
‘Off quhat estait, man, that thow be,
Obey and thank thi God off all’.
Robert Henryson, ‘Abbey Walk’1
Like other texts addressed in these chapters, the short lyric poem
‘Abbey Walk’, by the late fifteenth-century Scots poet Robert
Henryson, engages the work of reading in ways that facilitate and