Bacteriology in British India; Laboratory Medicine and the Tropics

Chakrabarti, Pratik (2012) Bacteriology in British India; Laboratory Medicine and the Tropics. Rochester Studies in Medical History . University of Rochester Press, New York, 302 pp. ISBN 9781580464086. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not available from this repository. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL


Bacteriology transformed colonial medicine from a focus on public health and hygiene to unlimited possibilities for the eradication of diseases. It also fiercely engaged public discourse on the ethics of animal and human experimentation. Bacteriology in British India is the first book to provide a social and cultural history of bacteriology in colonial India, situating it at the confluence of colonial medical practices, institutionalization, and social movements. Bacteriology was established in India through a complex process of conflict and alignment between Pasteurism and British imperial medicine. This led to divergences and tensions within bacteriology as practiced in Europe and the tropical colonies: in ideas of climate and potency of vaccines, in laboratory methods, in the ethical principles of experimentations, and in the discourses of racial immunity and endemicity of diseases. Scientists like Semple, Haffkine, Cunningham, Brunton, Simond, and Lustig worked in the several Indian Pasteur Institutes and the Central Research Institute, established from 1900, on vaccines for rabies, plague, typhoid, cholera, and snake venom. They conducted vaccinations in Indian cantonments, cities, hospitals, slums, jails, railway stations, villages and pilgrim sites. The book describes how in the process India became a vast experimental field for bacteriology. By investigating a vast array of laboratory notes, medical literature, and literary sources, the book links colonial medical research with issues of poverty, race, nationalism, and attitudes towards tropical climate and wildlife. It contributes to a wide field of scholarship like imperial and South Asian history, history of science and medicine, sociology of science, and cultural history.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of History > Centre for the History of the Sciences
Faculties > Humanities > School of History > Centre for the History of Medicine, Ethics and Medical Humanities
Depositing User: Pratik Chakrabarti
Date Deposited: 24 May 2012 16:36
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2012 11:23
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year