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Review Essay: Race, Medicine and the South
Journal of Social History (2009)
  • Sharla Fett, Occidental College
Three recent studies by historians Todd Savitt, Steven Stowe, and Marie Jenkins Schwartz demonstrated both the importance of social history methods to southern medical studies and the insights that medical history offers to understanding slavery and race in the U.S. South. Todd Savitt’s collection of essays combine the insights of contemporary public health and medical science with meticulous archival research to present an important body of work detailing African American health and medical institutions before and after emancipation. Steven Stowe and Marie Jenkins Schwartz, both of whom produced important earlier works on slavery and southern family life, turn their attention in these volumes to the social relations of antebellum medical practice. While Stowe delves deeply into the “country orthodoxy” of southern doctoring, Schwartz explores the medical practices and contested social relations that surrounded enslaved women’s reproduction. Looking at southern society through the lens of medical knowledge, institutions, and practice, all three works illuminate interconnections between health and power in many aspects of nineteenth-and early twentieth-century southern life.
Publication Date
September, 2009
Citation Information
Sharla Fett. "Review Essay: Race, Medicine and the South" Journal of Social History Vol. 43 Iss. 1 (2009)
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