General Digital Humanities
- Bodenhamer, David J. ‘Creating a Landscape of Memory: The Potential of Humanities GIS’. International Journal of Humanities & Arts Computing: A Journal of Digital Humanities, vol. 1, no. 2, 2007, pp. 97–110.
Bodenhamer introduces the power of Geographic information system (GIS) in history and cultural research. He takes Indiana and Taiwan as examples to illustrate the potential of GIS in evoking history and memory. With many transparent layers and multi-dimensional advantages, GIS can construct memory map in an open, inclusive, dynamic and changing way. When it comes to challenges and opportunities in the integration of GIS and humanities, the author's attitude is to explore rather than abandon attempts to the integration. For cultural heritage, he advocates the use of this powerful technology to explore heritage in new ways. In particular, the author advocate a 'deep mapping' approach, which may be able to create visual deep maps and landscapes of memory. For humanists research, for one thing, GIS can be a powerful tool for evidence management and analysis. For another, GIS technology can provides an open and unique post-modern academic potential.
- Da, Nan Z. ‘The Computational Case against Computational Literary Studies’. Critical Inquiry, vol. 45, no. 3, 2019, pp. 601-639.
This incisive essay seeks to prove that there is a “fundamental mismatch between the statistical tools that are used and the objects to which they are applied.” Nan Da, then, makes the case that most computational literary studies papers can be sorted into two categories: papers which present a statistical no-result as a result and papers that draw conclusions from its writings that are wrong. In fact, the argument that she ultimately makes is that typical applications of textual data involve a trade-off: “speed for accuracy, coverage for nuance.”
- de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Translated by Steven F. Rendall, U of California P, 1984.
Placed at about the half-way point of de Certeau’s book, The Practice of Everyday Life, the assigned chapter, Spatial Stories (p. 115-130), is mostly concerned with the ways in which narrative structures have the status of spatial syntaxes. In fact, de Certeau comes to the conclusion that space itself is a ‘practised place’ which therefore means that, much in the same way as a street is defined by walkers, the written text is a place constituted by a system of signs. Having said this, de Certeau moves onto analysing how maps have, since the fifteenth and the seventeenth centuries, become more autonomous, which is to say that maps have been and are ‘colonising’ space. This turns out to be the case with stories as well, since de Certeau says that they are a culturally creative act and thus have distributive and performative force, which means that stories can make or break a space. De Certeau’s most interesting breakthrough in this chapter is his stipulation that the primary function of stories, then, is to authorize the establishment, displacement or transcendence of limits. In his conclusion, de Certeau punctuates this argument by explaining that stories are caught in the binary relationship between the frontier and the bridge: the (legitimate) space and its (alien) exteriority.
- Gregory, Ian, and David Cooper. ‘GIS, Texts, and Images: New Approaches’. The Journal of the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture, vol. 2, no. 1, 2010, pp. 1-22.
Geographical information Systems (GIS) is traditionally used in historical research for understanding mortality rates by place but Gregory and Cooper propose using this tool and applying it to literature. The reason being that it offers a way of understanding the historical context of writers. Using the example of Coleridge and Gray who share the characteristics of the Lake District in their writing, they appropriately map them against this landscape. Using various data such as place names and their altitude as well as the density of the population they can closely compare they Lake district of both writers and conclude that it was different for each writer in many ways. The essay offers insight into how text mining, pos tagging and mapping can construct a closure analysis of literature for us.
Digital Humanities and Postcolonialism
- Klein, Lauren F. ‘The Image of Absence: Archival Silence, Data Visualization, and James Hemings’. American Literature, vol. 85, no. 4, 2013, pp. 661–688.
This article highlights that whilst archives can be meticulous in their detail they still miss out information. Klein focuses on the example of the lack of direct mentions of James Hemings in the records of Thomas Jefferson despite him being a meticulous record keeper. Klein presents a range of technologies related to the digital humanities, particularly data visualization that can be used to tackle this silence. She suggests that exploring the silence in archives through visualization is a valuable revelation to the study of colonial archives. This article also reminds us to look critically at archives created in the context of slavery and colonialism.
- Noble, Safiya Umoja. ‘Toward a Critical Black Digital Humanities’. Debates in the Digital Humanities 2019, edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein, University of Minnesota Press, 2019, pp. 27–35.
Noble explores how the DH field has failed to incorporate an intersectional approach that brings economic, race, and gender dimensions into the discussions. The evident lack of diversity in the Digital Humanities limits the type of work that gets done as well as its impact. There have been attempts to digitise black culture, but these attempts do not focus on questioning and dismantling racist systems. Noble suggests using critical race theory and critical whiteness theory to reinforce anti-colonial research and challenge the impulse to privilege digitality and computerization over projects that take on social, economic, and environmental inequality issues. She also addresses how the use of technology and digital tools contribute to reinforce this disparity and exploit the labor of people of color.
- Risam, Roopika. New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy. Northwestern UP, 2018.
Risam offers an insight into the politics behind archival research citing them as a form of curation as there is a decision making process in what is recorded. In this context, she highlights the dangers in considering digital archives an inherently postcolonial space because doing so risks obfuscating the violent ideology that may persist within them. By arranging their collections in specific ways, colonial archives played an active role in the creation of colonial subjects. Nevertheless, Risam optimistically sets out a manifesto for the digitisation of archives. She states that we have an opportunity to shape how we use historical records and use them to challenge and subvert the colonial ideology contained within them. For this to succeed those who curate new digital archives need to be mindful of the numerous pitfalls and accordingly engage with the material in a highly self-critical manner.
- Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Zed Books, 2012.
Placed at the very beginning of the introduction of this book, this passage discusses the mental, emotional, and historical toll of western research within former colonized countries. With a tone of anger, the author presents the pains and current effects of the research system of western imperialist scholars researching “indigenous people''. Following Edward Saïd’s precepts, she briefly presents how the creation of knowledge from the imperialist perspective is a construction of both physical and immaterial theft. (p. 92-100) Then, as an introduction to the second chapter ‘Research Through Imperial eyes', the author reflects on theory of knowledge and knowledge production of “white research”. She presents it as a set of formal and informal rules playing on implicit and explicit levels of domination over their subject of study. The author then turns to the first part of this chapter “The cultural formation of Western Research''. She presents Western knowledge through the vision of Foucault’s “storehouse” of stories and artefacts of multiple traditions and civilizations. Such a “storehouse” reveals the implied practices and ways to collect knowledge. The author considers this structure as important since it allows western research to always fit in the ever-evolving systems of classifications of their subjects. By doing so it is a machine of exploitation and pushes further systems of dominance. The author then comes to discuss “The intersections of Race and Gender”. She follows Goldberg’s perspective on the use of medieval and ancient artefacts as the base of internalized racisms. These two time periods would represent an archive of models of racism. This brings her to reflect on the intersection of Gender and race as a complex relationship, as the perception of women would come from the same ancient and medieval archive of models to create gender distinctions. But it brings the question of the position of women of colour, as colonialism was “’male thing’”. Yet, the system of creation of white knowledge creates a web where oppositional discourses cannot be engaged and ensures that Western interests prevails.
General Medical History of British India
- Millard, Francine, and Jane Quinn. ‘About the Collection: Institutions’. Medical History of British India, 2007, https://digital.nls.uk/indiapapers/institutions.html [Accessed 08/12/2020].
The Medical History of British India is a National Library of Scotland website which explores the history of disease in 19th and 20th century India. It provides online access to around 400 reports, which are physically held at the National Library of Scotland. These reports focus on disease, public health, and medical research. ‘About the Collection: Institutions’ discusses the reports on institutions, including: reports from medical colleges, schools and research institutions; army health reports; and lock hospitals. These reports provide information regarding ‘the role of government and law and the operation of colonial power in a medical context.’
- Millard, Francine. ‘Of Microbes and Men’. Medical History of British India National Library of Scotland, 12 July 2020, www.nls.uk/media/769389/discover-nls-16.pdf
Millard explores the very same archives and offers a representation into the medical successes recorded in the archives during the period. The article is part of a magazine from the National museum of Scotland and offers insight to the discovery of microbes and how they lead to spread disease
- Mushtaq, Muhammad Umair. ‘Public Health in British India: A Brief Account of the History of Medical Services and Disease Prevention in Colonial India’. Indian Journal of Community Medicine: Official Publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine, vol. 34, no. 1, 2009, pp. 6-14.
This article discusses medicine in the 19th and early 20th century in British India. It specifically focuses on Medical institutions, vaccinations, disease control, leprosy and Malaria in order to demonstrate the changing face of health in the nation. It discusses how diseases, such as malaria, were brought in by the colonists and how the colonial power then ‘shaped’ the future of Indian medicine.
- Saini, Anu. ‘Physicians of Colonial India (1757-1900)’. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, vol. 5, no. 3, 2016, pp. 528–532.
This article looks at the development in teachings of doctors in India between 1757 and 1900. It documents the historical teaching practise of localised training, then to a hybrid approach of western and Indian practice to finally, a dominant English taught Western medical programme. The article also discusses the extent as to which women were involved in these medical programmes. The effects of such changes are discussed in relation to patriotism and defiance.
Gender in British India
- Engels, Dagmar. Beyond Purdah? Women in Bengal 1890-1939. Oxford UP, 1996.
- Lal, Maneesha. ‘The Politics of Gender and Medicine in Colonial India: The Countess of Dufferin’s Fund, 1885-1888’. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, vol. 68, no. 1, 1994, pp. 29–66.
This article explores how gender played a vital role in the healthcare of Colonial India. Maneesha Lal examines the National Association for Supplying Female Medical Aid to the Women of India and explains how race, class, caste, and, of course, gender influence access to medical services. The cultural values of the period prevented many women from seeking help from male doctors, which made female attendance to hospitals much lower than male attendance. Additionally, the lack of economic means, the restrictions of movement of women in rural areas, as well as the shortage of female physicians also prevented Indian female patients from having access to proper healthcare.
- Manmohan Kaur. Women in India's Freedom Struggle. 3rd ed., Sterling, 1992.
- Mishra, Sabya Sachi R. ‘Laws of Pleasure: The Making of Indian Contagious Diseases Act, 1868’. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 60, 1999, pp. 550-561.
This article contextualises the Contagious Diseases Acts by outlining the history of the British government's attempts to manage sexually transmitted infections in the military. Through these acts and the criminal prosecution of women who did not follow them, the government added to the criminalisation of sex work. It is further important to note that while sexually transmitted infections were common in all parts of the population, the Acts were designed only to serve the military. Mishra compares the lock hospitals that existed in Britain and in India and concludes that the former were focused on 'rehabilitation' of sex workers, whereas the latter served as an extension of colonial power. The lock hospitals in India granted the colonial government information and control over women's sexuality which would otherwise not have been possible.
- Mukherjee, Sujata. Gender, Medicine and Society in Colonial India: Women’s Health Care in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Bengal. Oxford Scholarship Online, 2017, https://oxford-universitypressscholarship-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199468225.001.0001/acprof-9780199468225-chapter-1 [accessed on 06 December 2020]
This book is an incisive analysis of the interface between medicine and medicine society through the lens of gender in Colonial India beginning with the pivotal Contagious Diseases Act of 1868 and going up to well into the 20th century. Divided into six main chapters, this book tackles everything from western medicine and medical education to sexuality and domesticity. What’s most important for this digital project is how Mukherjee explores the linkages of growth of medical education for women, tackles questions of racial discrimination, reproductive health practises, sexual health and famine and mortality and how she bases her work on previously unused primary sources, which implicitly means bringing new insight and new voices into the critical discussion.
- Mukherjee, Sujata. ‘Women and Medicine in Colonial India: A Case Study of Three Women Doctors’. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 66, 2005, pp. 1183-1193.
In this study, Sujata Mukherjee analyses the system of medicine in colonial India and how gender influenced the country's medical field. The article illuminates a number of issues which are linked together by colonialism, medicine and feminism. Indian women's health was not a priority during the first half of the 19th century. The first attempts to inculcate hygiene and better practices for female well-being came from women missionaries from England and the United States. Additionally, the article also explores how the door of medical training was open for aspirant Indian female doctors and what kind of opposition this initiative faced in the male medical community. In this way, this article enriches the way we understand the primary areas of concern for medicine in British India, namely the army, the jails and the hospitals - all of which became less and less male dominated over time.
- Roberts, Daniel Sanjiv. ‘“Merely Birds of Passage”: Lady Hariot Dufferin’s Travel Writings and Medical Work in India, 1884-1888’. Women’s History Review, vol. 15, no. 3, 2006, pp. 443–457.
This article focuses on the medical work of Lady Harion Dufferin. Lady Dufferin was a pioneer of female health in India. She was appointed by Queen Victoria to minister the medical needs of Indian women and Roberts believes her actions set in motion some of the first feminist initiatives in the country. The article analyses how Lady Dufferin directed her efforts towards training female medical personnel and founded the National Association to build female hospitals and tend to the needs of Indian women who did not have access to female doctors.
- Roye, Susmita. ‘Stereotyping the Feminist Lady Doctor in British India: A Study of the Literary Depictions by Colonial Women Writers’. Studies in the Humanities (Indiana) 41, no. 1/2, 2015, pp. 120–141.
This article discusses how women in the medical profession are portrayed - especially by female authors. It discusses stereotyping that is implicated in gender and colonial issues. Specifically looking at two works of fiction, Maud Driver’s ‘Lilamani: A Study in Possibilities’ and Cornelia Sorabiji’s ‘behind the purdah’ it discusses how females and medicine are seen as entirely separate spheres; medicine is a man's world. Susmita concludes that stereotypes are tyrannical, but there is always more to see than the stereotype presented.
- Stockstill, Ellen J. ‘Degenerate or Victim? Fallen Women, Disease, and the Moral Strength of the British Empire’. Nineteenth-Century Prose, vol. 44, no. 1, 2017, pp. 21–38.
The author discusses how the British Empire relied on the regulation of female bodies as a means to keep the image of superiority before other nations. In this sense, the bodies of "fallen women," especially those from British colonies, are depicted as a "site of contagion" that threatened the health of soldiers and the empire itself, because imperialist ideas mainly relied on a sense of racial and moral superiority. The author also discusses the way concern on health and this notion of moral superiority increased after the Indian Revolt of 1857, which had tainted the image of the British Empire as "benevolent rulers" whose presence "signaled progress." From that moment, authorities sustained the idea that local women were the ones "corrupting" the soldiers and the empire with their diseases; however, at the time they met the opposition from feminist authors, mainly Josephine Butler, who denounced these measures as a means of oppression against women and colonized people by portraying "fallen women" as victims.
- Tambe, Ashwini. ‘The Colonial State, Law and Sexuality’. Codes of Misconduct: Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay, U of Minnesota P, 2009, pp. 1-25.
This chapter gives the reader a full perspective of the laws and regulations around sex workers in British India from the 19th to 20th century. The author then brings us from the law to theory. Under the conceptual thinking of Foucault, Tambe questions how European theories around sex and punishment might be applied to British India. The central point of the discussion is the application of a feminist twist on Foucault’s work. By criticizing the limits of Foucault’s theories, Tambe cautions us that colonial studies on sexuality are not to be studied linearly but always with co-implications between pleasure, power and law-making.
Drugs in British India
- Hall, Wayne. ‘The Indian Hemp Drugs Commision 1893-1894’. Addiction, vol. 114, no. 9, 2019, pp. 1679-1682.
The investigation of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission is still regarded as a major source to prove that cannabis products are not harmful and are not linked to mental health issues. However, by explaining the process behind the commission's investigation, the author shows how the study itself was likely to be influenced by conflicts of interest and the results of the alleged benefits of cannabis could be biased. The study was mainly the product of a series of questionnaires to a portion of the population, as well as public hearings. Through this process, they found out that the reason to admit patients into mental asylums due to “ganja lunacy” was only validated by rumours and not real examples. Therefore, the IHDC declared that only “excessive” consumption could lead to mental health issues. However, they did not support prohibition, as they declared it would force the population to consume worse drugs. The conflict of interest can be seen in the fact that a high portion of the questionnaires and hearings that sustained the IHDC’s findings might have come from government employees.
- Shamir, Ronen and Daphna Hacker. ‘Colonialism’s Civilizing Mission: The Case of the Indian Hemp Drug Commission’. Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 26, no. 2, 2001, pp. 435-461.
The article studies the colonialist approach of the Indian Hemp Drug Commission in the regulation of drugs in British India. The Commission was created to find out whether cannabis affected the physical and mental health of the Indian population. After finding out the “ganja insanity” diagnoses were based on beliefs, the Commission sustained the religious and cultural benefits of hemp to reject the idea of prohibition. The authors propose that this task was part of the colonial mission to "civilise" India. Furthermore, this mission was mainly based on a power struggle and "negotiation" between British authorities and the Indian elites who were involved in the Commission’s research. While the former leaned towards the regulation of cannabis products (with its economic benefits), the latter defended prohibition as a means to prove themselves to be as "civilised" and educated as their British counterparts and distinguish themselves from India's lower classes.
Mental Health in British India
- Coleborne, Catharine. ‘Institutional case files: Insanity’s archive’. Sources and Methods in Histories of Colonialism: Approaching the Imperial Archive, edited by Kirsty Reid and Fiona Paisley, Routledge, 2017, pp. 119–134.
- Daund, Muktesh, et al. ‘Mental Hospitals in India: Reforms for the future’. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 60, no. 6, 2018, p. 239.
This article looks at three volumes containing psychiatric case notes from British medical officers at Lucknow Lunatic Asylum in India. The author argues against using this information as uncontaminated scientific data that describes accurately the state of the subjects it refers to: the people who were classified as insane. Instead, what the documents do account for is the circumstances in which they were written and the way in which a particular discourse operated. The notes included less of a reference to an actual mental state and more data on the patient's physical condition and behaviors. The author concludes from their analysis that what these discourses show is an attempt to define and exercise power over the Other.
- Mills, James. ‘The Mad and the Past: Retrospective Diagnosis, Post-Coloniality, Discourse Analysis and the Asylum Archive’. Journal of Medical Humanities, vol. 21, no. 3, 2000, pp. 141-158.
- Scull, Andrew. ‘Asylums: Utopias and Realities’. Asylum in the Community, edited by John Carrier and Dylan Tomlinson, Routledge, 1996, pp. 7-16.
- Swartz, Sally. ‘The Regulation of British Colonial Lunatic Asylums and the Origins of Colonial Psychiatry, 1860–1864’. History of Psychology, vol. 13, no. 2, 2010, pp. 160-177.
- Orwell, George. Politics and the English Language. 1946, https://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit/ [Accessed 05/12/2020].
This essay focuses on the connection between the English language and its political agenda. Orwell states that language is used to hide real intentions, a mask of sorts and that often, it can be meaningless. Orwell argues for six rules that must be followed to prevent these issues, most crucially, rule six being to forget all the rules if you are going to write in a primitive manner. Political language, as he argues, is ‘designed to make lies sound truthful’.
- Sigley, Robert, and Janet Holmes. ‘Looking at “Girls” in Corpora of English’. Journal of English Linguistics, vol. 30, no. 2, 2002, pp. 138-157.
This essay examines recent trends in the use of different terms to describe women in corpora of written English. Recent trends show a decline in the use of sexist suffixes such as -esse and -ette, the patronizing ‘lady’/’ladies’, and the pseudo-generic man. There has, on the other hand, been an increase in ‘woman’/’women’ and ‘female’. Sigley and Holmes carried out an investigation into trends in the use of ‘girl’ to describe adult women. It is much more common for adult women to be referred to as ‘girls’ than for adult men to be referred to as ‘boys’, though recent trends show a decrease in the use of ‘girls’. Sigley and Holmes go into detail regarding the different ways in which ‘girl’ is used in the corpora, why, and to what effects. The essay concludes with some remarks on the value of this type of investigation.