Pathology and Irishness in convict Australia
What is it about?
This paper identifies and analyzes an intriguing trend in the literature of early colonial Australia: the association of Irishness with illness, and particularly with scurvy. It explains the thinking that lay behind this association, especially in terms of a concept called epidemic constitution, a now-outmoded frame for epidemiological thought.
Why is it important?
The essay uses the history of medical thought to better understand how and why Irish convicts were considered a distinct group by colonial administrators and ships' surgeons. It not only enriches our view of the early convict colony, but adds new layers to our understanding of how diseases of population get tied up with ideas about nationality, character, behavior, and so on.
The following have contributed to this page: Killian Quigley