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.
symbioticalliance developed between the colonial government and a
religious group on the margins of Surinamese society, the Catholics.
Much of the historiography of Batavia has concentrated on the role
of the Roman Catholic Church, which took charge of the care of the
sufferers. Writers have emphasized the Church’s humanitarian and religious motivations, and extolled the dedication and self-sacrifice of the
priests working and living in Batavia.1 This praise is certainly justified,
but there were other dimensions to life in the asylum. For the Catholics
Surinamese confinement policies and the necessity for
an accommodation between the dominant Christian religious groups
in the colony (Protestants and Catholics) and with the colonial state.
A symbioticalliance for leprosy care had formed between the colonial
state and the Catholics earlier in the nineteenth century. However,
at the end of the nineteenth century, this alliance was renegotiated
within the transforming landscape of Surinamese society to incorporate Protestants as well. The reorganization of leprosy care in the colony was intended to establish a better
concluded, bring the strike to the end. Blacks were
attacked well after the strike had commenced, conﬁrming the conventional
arguments that the strike was not sparked by racial hostility against black
workers. Moreover, once the army and police promptly terminated the racial
massacre, the white strikers again refocused their resources and anger on the
issue that had initiated the strike and remained the casus belli through its
end: popular white anger against the “symbiotic” alliance between the SAP
government and mining capital.49 Two factors are particularly germane to