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Title:Colonizing Leprosy: Imperialism, Patients, and the Politics of Public Health in Hawai'i and Louisiana
Author(s):Moran, Michelle Therese
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Leslie J. Reagan
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Public Health
Abstract:Beginning in the late nineteenth century and extending for much of the twentieth century, many people with leprosy (Hansen's disease or HD) in the United States faced mandatory banishment to state-run facilities dedicated solely to containing their disease. This dissertation examines leprosy regulations and patient communities to recover the imperial past of the United States and reveal how U.S. colonizing ventures influenced national life. A colonizing mentality became intricately interwoven into U.S. public health policy from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, as American acquisition and management of island territories heightened public fears of leprosy as a "foreign" contagion and shaped the creation of restrictive federal and territorial laws that mandated the incarceration of people diagnosed with the disease. Racialized and gendered preconceptions of appropriate behavior for "American" men and women informed regulations at the Kalaupapa Settlement in Moloka'i, Hawai'i, and the U.S. National Leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana. An examination of the patient communities at these two sites connects critical theory to human practice by paying close attention to the ways in which individuals confined at these institutions challenged restrictive rules and initiated their own public health campaigns. By exploring how patients actively participated in the practice of American medicine and how leprosy became an American disease, we can more fully appreciate the interplay between metropole and colony in the United States.
Issue Date:2002
Description:347 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3070390
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2002

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