Making Race in Civil War America

Lecture Description

This lecture considers the wartime endeavors by Northern white medical and scientific practitioners and researchers to master what they thought was knowable about Black bodies: what whites saw as Black peculiarities, distinctiveness, possibilities, and limitations. In these white Northerners’ efforts to create and possess medical and scientific authority over African American bodies and to commodify that knowledge as part of medicine’s professionalization, there is a deep correspondence with the commodification of Black bodies by slave traders and slave owners. Schwalm approaches these developments as part of the enduring violence of slavery, even during the war that ultimately ended slavery.

CATEGORIES

Civil War and Reconstruction Medicine

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