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Health and History

Lindsay R Watson
'Congenital phimosis' was one of a number of pseudo-pathologies that entered mainstream medicine in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century Truby King, Henry Jellett, and Eric Corkill advocated premature foreskin retraction as the first intervention to manage 'congenital phimosis'. If that failed they recommended circumcision, although eventually it became more expedient to use circumcision exclusively. The nineteenth-century justification for such interventions was to prevent masturbation, but by the middle of the twentieth century this was replaced by prevention of infections...
2014: Health and History
Rhonda Chang
It is commonly assumed that contemporary Chinese Medicine has an ancient lineage and its practice can be related in a straightforward way to medicine practiced in China for thousands of years. In this article, I argue that this impression is mistaken. What we currently call traditional Chinese Medicine is only sixty years old and it does not share the same theoretical principles to the ancient medicine of China (referred to as yi). Both yi and contemporary Chinese medicine practices use herbs and acupuncture methods, but yi is based on the principles of yinyang, wuxing whereas contemporary Chinese medicine is fundamentally based on western anatomical understandings of the body and disease, and notably, the two practices create different healing outcomes...
2014: Health and History
Robert M Kaplan
The first Royal Commission into the activities of a psychiatrist took place in Melbourne in 1924, inquiring into misconduct by Dr Reg Ellery at Kew Hospital. Ellery, appalled by the conditions at the Idiot Cottages, had attempted to make improvements for the children. This led to a confrontation with the Attendant's Union--who had been challenging the power of doctors to run the asylums--which met with an unexpected change in Victorian state politics to lead to the establishment of the Royal Commission. Though Ellery was in the end exonerated, his subsequent treatment by the Lunacy Department was slightly insulting, featuring a transfer to another hospital...
2014: Health and History
Beris Penrose
In the twentieth century medical experts reversed their opinion on whether exposure to cement dust was hazardous. Today it is associated with bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, silicosis, and lung cancer. Yet, up to the 1970s experts maintained that the dust was harmless. Being exposed on a daily basis, workers and their unions were in a unique position see the effects of cement dust and frequently raised concerns. However, lay knowledge, no matter how accurate it later proved to be, was ignored by those in authority...
2014: Health and History
Geoffrey Gray
In 1939 an Australian anthropologist, W.E.H Stanner, believed that the nation needed to examine the question of biological and cultural preservation of the Aboriginal peoples. In an attempt to address the issue a range of proposals were suggested, most concentrating on the provision of adequate nutrition, proper medical supervision, good conditions of employment, appropriately trained field staff with sufficient financial resources, and the creation of inviolable reserves. This paper is a case study of a northwest Northern Territory cattle station, Wave Hill, where a survey conducted by two anthropologists aimed to reveal the causes of population decline on Vestey owned cattle stations...
2014: Health and History
Robin Kearns
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2012: Health and History
John Armstrong
This article argues that during the four decades following World War II, New Zealand medical specialists worked within a professional field that was fundamentally international in nature. In contrast to the predominantly nation-centred narratives that characterise much of New Zealand's medical historiography, this article suggests that the structures, conventions, and values that underpinned the work of New Zealand specialists were to a large extent derived from, and sustained by, a complex network of international exchanges...
2012: Health and History
Hans Pols
W. F. Theunissen (1882-1961) was a leading psychiatrist in the Dutch East Indies. He was the medical director of several large mental hospitals after which he became director of the Dutch East Indies Public Health Service. Theunissen was not known for his research into the causes of mental illness. Instead, he made his mark as an administrator greatly reducing the expenses of the Lawang mental hospital by expanding occupational therapy in new and innovative ways. His accomplishments earned him the position of director of the Indies Public Health Department, where he oversaw the decentralisation of health services and the development of public health initiatives...
2012: Health and History
Laurence Monnais
Neurasthenia remains an important health problem in certain Asian populations, both in Asia as well as in a diasporic context. An anachronistic disease for Western observers, it has become an exotic culture-bound syndrome as well as a somatoform disorder too often hiding much more serious issues of depression. This article approaches this 'problematic' health issue from a historian's point of view and offers a colonial genealogy that will discuss neurasthenia's outline in French Vietnam. By retracing and analysing the different mentions, definitions, and uses of the term neurasthenia in the interwar period, it aims to better understand certain historical realities that might have shaped the local identity and spatiality of this problem (concentrated in colonial cities in which social change and modernity were expressed in their most salient forms), and perhaps even identify reasons that facilitated its post-colonial survival...
2012: Health and History
James Beattie
In the nineteenth century, place bore immediately and urgently on questions of imperialism, race, and health. This article considers European strategies to control local environments and improve healthiness through the exchange of people, plants, ideas and garden designs between India and Australia. Migration removed Europeans from unhealthy environments, either permanently (to Australia and elsewhere) or temporarily (to hill stations in India). Trees like the eucalyptus were introduced into India to enhance European health, based on belief they drained sources of disease...
2012: Health and History
Catharine Coleborne
This article examines how female immigrants were characterised inside the Yarra Bend Asylum in Melbourne, Victoria (Hospital for the Insane after 1905), once they slipped into the world of the institutionally 'hidden.' Forms of social difference inside colonial institutions for the insane were embedded in patient case records. This article argues that through a closer examination of cases of female immigrants, we might find out more about gender relations in colonial situations. In particular this article returns to ideas about women patients and constructions of these women through case records to uncover new interpretations of this material in the Australasian context...
2012: Health and History
Elspeth Knewstubb
This article addresses asylum patients 'expressions of Christian religious identity in New Zealand's only private asylum, Ashburn Hall, Dunedin, New Zealand, between 1882 and 1910. Religion remains an area that has been under-examined by historians of the asylum. A significant minority of patients admitted to Ashburn Hall turned to religion to interpret their surroundings, express their feelings, or assert their identity within the space of the asylum. For those allowed out of the asylum to attend their own denominational services, religion also opened up a community other than the forced community of the asylum...
2012: Health and History
Maree Dawson
Historians have focused on early twentieth-century positive eugenics in New Zealand In this article, I argue that the response came from a tradition of concern about heredity and white racial degeneracy, which extended beyond the British Empire. This article focuses on concerns about heredity at the Auckland Mental Hospital between 1850 and 1899, and contextualises these concerns in New Zealand mental hospital statistics from the late-nineteenth century. This article also considers Australasian, British, North and South American medical and immigration legislation history, and contrasts this with the legislation and medical discourses which formed part of a fear of heredity, racial degeneracy, immigration and mental illness in New Zealand...
2012: Health and History
Angela McCarthy
This article argues for the blending of local, national, and transnational perspectives to explore comparative issues relating to asylum developments and provisions in New Zealand. It also aims to highlight some issues preoccupying authorities of the time and in doing so focuses on three key areas that generated comparative comment among medical officials in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: asylum provision and funding, statistics, and forms of committal. These areas were of concern due to claims that insane patients were deliberately being shipped to New Zealand: that the colony had high admission and recovery rates; and that asylums in the colony were overcrowded...
2012: Health and History
Catharine Coleborne, Angela McCarthy
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2012: Health and History
Elizabeth Pittman, Les Fitzgerald
The oral testimony of forty men entering nursing (1950-2000) and twenty men entering midwifery (1970-2000) in Australia is littered with descriptions of gender discrimination. Men identify many of the barriers they encountered entering a female dominated profession. The Nurses' Registration Act in the States of Victoria (1958) and Tasmania (1952) explicitly stated no male could be registered as a midwife and this paper focuses on the personal accounts of three men (1974-1976) to change this legal impediment...
2011: Health and History
Cary Bennett
This article examines key aims, objectives, technologies, strategies, and procedures utilised in Australian methadone maintenance programs over the past thirty years. An examination of the major policy documents reveal that, in addition to medico-health concerns, methadone programs have been strategically deployed to manage specific sociopolitical problems including illicit drug use, crime, and the spread of infectious diseases. The techniques, technologies, and procedures utilised in methadone programs and the 'disciplinary monotony 'of the methadone regime itself aim to produce a more compliant, conforming, and self-regulating subject...
2011: Health and History
Jennifer Read, Susan Hardy, Anthony Corones
The expectation of participation in cervical screening programs has become a ubiquitous feature of women's lives; but despite the obvious importance of trying to prevent cervical cancer, both the expression and fulfilment of that expectation are far from straightforward. This is because the actors involved are not always consistent in their interpretation of the risks involved and safety sought. The history of cervical screening in Australia illustrates how the implementation of medical surveillance can be shaped by such interpretations...
2011: Health and History
Dave Earl
In the late 1940s, small groups of 'interested parents' and 'concerned citizens' began to gather in community halls, hoping to assuage the 'plight' of their intellectually disabled offspring. These meetings led to the formation of an association dedicated to the foundation of schools, day centres, or hostels for their children. By the 1960s, at least one of these groups existed in every Australian state. Together, they established several hundred schools, farm colonies, hostels, and workshops, and successfully lobbied state and federal governments to fund their ventures...
2011: Health and History
Jane Buckingham
From 1911 to 1969 those people diagnosed with leprosy in the South Pacific were gradually isolated and received medical treatment at the Central Lepers' Hospital, Makogai Island, Fiji. Until the discovery of sulfones in the 1940s leprosy was largely incurable and it was expected that those who went to the island would never return. This paper assumes that the stigma attendant on leprosy which provoked the isolation order is itself a form of disability. The paper draws on patients'stories to explore their individual and collective experience of isolation and suggests that for many, collective isolation on Makogai was an enabling experience...
2011: Health and History
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