Article ID: CBB001176385

Visions of Colonial Nairobi: William Simpson, Health, Segregation and the Problems of Ordering a Plural Society, 1907–1921 (2020)


The 1915 Simpson Report made public health recommendations for Nairobi that were heralded as ground-breaking. Of particular interest to the colonial authorities was Professor Simpson’s suggestion to racially segregate Nairobi to prevent diseases said to emanate from its Indian bazaar. Rather than being novel, this article shows that these recommendations were typical of enthusiasm for segregation in other parts of Empire, as well as being in line with earlier health reform proposals for Nairobi. Furthermore, although public health justified racially discriminatory practices for European ends, this was not a predictable story of Indians uniting against segregation and Europeans campaigning for it. Indeed, the debates stimulated by Simpson reveal some disunity amongst Kenyan Indians. Additionally, when segregation plans were dropped in 1921 Indians continued to live in their own sub-communities in Nairobi, indicating that opposition to segregation was as much a symbolic political battle than a cultural necessity.

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Authors & Contributors
MacLeod, Roy M.
Seng, Loh Kah
Pimentel, Juan
McClellan, James E., III
Regourd, François
Sörlin, Sverker
Social History of Medicine
Medical History
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
American Quarterly
Social Science History
Univ. Chicago Press
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
MIT Press
Harvard University Press
Duke University Press
Medicine and race
Public health
Great Britain, colonies
Medicine and gender
African Americans and science
Bernard, Viola W
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
18th century
20th century
21st century
17th century
United States
Latin America
South Africa
Henry Phipps Institute, Philadelphia
United States. Office of Indian Affairs

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