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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sun hats, sundowners, and tropical hygiene: managing settler bodies and minds in British East and South-Central Africa, 1890-1939
Author:Wells, Julia M.
Year:2016
Periodical:African Historical Review (ISSN 1753-2531)
Volume:48
Issue:2
Pages:68-91
Language:English
Geographic terms:Kenya
Zimbabwe
Great Britain
Subjects:colonists
health education
body
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17532523.2016.1281875
Abstract:The protection of white settler bodies and minds against the tropical climate was a central concern in Britain's African territories. Despite substantial medical advances from the 1890s onwards, and the continuing colonial narrative of European medical power and superiority, white settlers in the tropics were viewed as profoundly vulnerable throughout the early twentieth century. Tropical hygiene advice and equipment developed in response, with every aspect of daily life commented upon by experts in guidebooks and medical advice books. This article explores how white settlers in British East and South-Central Africa, primarily Kenya and Rhodesia, negotiated and adapted the highly prescriptive body management recommendations found in the advice literature. It considers three strands of advice: dress, 'sanitary segregation', and 'moral' matters (including alcohol consumption, sexual behaviour, personal hygiene, and mental wellbeing). It argues that settlers did not simply replicate professional advice, and that, although influenced by recommended hygienic measures, they managed their bodies in far more dynamic and variable ways, adapting advice to produce individualised body management regimes. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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