Join Kristin Hussey and Subhadra Das in this free, digital event to celebrate the publication of Imperial Bodies in London: Empire, Mobility and the Making of British Medicine (University of Pittsburg Press, 2021). In this new book by Kristin Hussey, she takes us on a journey through the imperial city of London in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to demonstrate how empire was (and is) at the heart of British medicine. Bringing together the history of medicine, history of empire, and the tools of geography – Imperial Bodies in London follows the mobile lives of sailors, doctors, missionaries, administrators, and soldiers to reveal the everyday experiences of being a body in the networks of empire. This one-hour event will be hosted by curator, researcher and comedian Subhadra Das. Attendees will also have the chance to win a free copy of the book.

The event is in English.

Join the digital book launch on Zoom. The event is free for all, but please register via Eventbrite

About the book:

Imperial Bodies in London is a postcolonial history of British medicine, focused on the imperial city of London at the height of the British Empire. While it has been well established that British medicine spread around the globe during the colonial period, this book makes the opposite move and follows how the empire made medical knowledge and practice at home in London. Inspired by the anatomical organization of Victorian medical museums, it explores how the encounter between empire and Britain was located in specific organs – the liver, the brain, the eyes, and the blood. Through a series of case studies, the book demonstrates how the exchange between London and the empire was facilitated by mobile bodies of sailors, administrators, missionaries, and military men – but stymied by hierarchies of authority, prestige, race, gender and imperial power. Inspired by the author’s work as a museum curator, the book is grounded in the personal stories of doctors and patients, and uses material culture to enliven the everyday experience of being a body in the networks of empire.

This book that will be of interest to historians, geographers, museologists and general readers with an interest in medicine, empire, disease, environment, mobility, and race. 

Early praise:

This fine contribution to postcolonial scholarship shows how the interwoven movements of ships, people, and diseases transformed tropical medicine at the height of the British empire. Kristin Hussey casts important new light on the movement of colonial residents back and forth across the globe as they brought their medical conditions to the forefront of London medical circles. Uniquely, she concentrates on the disorders of daily expatriate life: psychiatric disarray, lassitude, digestive disturbance, failing eyesight, and the hidden parasitic cargo of an overseas existence. Together, doctors and patients encountered disease, race, power, and geography in an entirely new manner that helped construct an ‘imperial body’ in need of metropolitan control.
Janet Browne, Harvard University

To purchase or order a copy for review, please visit:


03 nov 2021



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