For historians of health and medicine, Southeast Asia is a fascinating area to explore. It has been ravaged by cholera, malaria, the plague, smallpox, yellow fever, dysentery, and several other diseases; today, it is associated with the avian flu and SARS. During the eras of imperial exploration and colonial settlement, Europeans were plagued by fear about the threats that disease posed to their health, not without reason, as white settlements were often decimated by disease. Disease does not recognize borders and imperial divides; the health challenges that Southeast Asian countries have faced have been, and continue to be, the same. Yet the response to these health challenges has varied considerably, depending on the state of medical knowledge at the time, population density, population movement, the nature of colonial administration, and the organization of medical services. Southeast Asia was colonized by the...
Histories of Health in Southeast Asia: Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century
Hans Pols is associate professor at the Unit for History of Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney. He is interested in the history of medicine in Southeast Asia. He is finishing a book on the history of the medical profession in the Dutch East Indies and Indonesia. He is currently engaged in a research project titled “Imagining Indonesian Psychiatry: Past, Present, and Future.”
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Hans Pols; Histories of Health in Southeast Asia: Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 1 June 2016; 10 (2): 207–209. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/18752160-2937492
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