Article ID: CBB591035348

"I Was Doctor": White Settler Women's Amateur Medical Practice in East and South-Central African Communities, 1890–1939 (2018)


Professional medicine in colonial British Africa has been extensively examined by historians. Few scholars, however, have adequately considered the role that white settlers without medical training played in the provision of colonial health care in local African communities. This article addresses the gap by exploring amateur medical treatment by white settler women in East and South-Central African communities between 1890 and 1939, primarily in highland areas of Kenya and Southern Rhodesia. It examines the types of conditions treated, what techniques and equipment were used for treatment, and where treatment was carried out. It also explores medical identity in settler women’s memoirs. Last, it considers the degree of choice exercised by patients in these amateur medical encounters. Overall, this article situates white settlers’ amateur treatment in African communities as an important strand of colonial health care and as an intimate contact zone between white settlers, colonial medicine, and local people.

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Authors & Contributors
Luedke, Tracy
Hunt, Nancy Rose
Helper, Allison L.
Jennings, Michael W.
Barros, Juanita de
Bala, Poonam
Social History of Medicine
Journal of Southern African Studies
Social Studies of Science
Health and History
Duke University Press
Ohio State University Press
Lexington Books
Ohio University Press
NUS Press
Medicine, traditional
Great Britain, colonies
Traditional societies and cultures
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
20th century, late
18th century
South Africa
Southeast Asia

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