Book Review: Biomedicine as a Contested Site: Some Revelations in Imperial Contexts by Poonam Bala, ed (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009)

R. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review


For at least three decades, historians have investigated the relationship between western medicine, imperial policy and colonial rule, questioning the assertion that western medicine was a positive legacy of European colonialism. A common argument is that western medicine functioned as a 'tool of empire' by protecting the health of white Europeans and supporting beliefs of European superiority; and by controlling and exploiting local minds and bodies. As an organising principle and analytical category, the term 'colonial medicine' is also commonly deployed to describe these aspects of western medicine in colonial localities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Issue number1, pages 212-14
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • western medicine
  • imperial policy
  • colonial rule

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