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Black Well-BeingHealth and Selfhood in Antebellum Black Literature$
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Andrea Stone

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062570

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062570.001.0001

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The Ruled and Regulated Self

The Ruled and Regulated Self

Medicine and Race Science in the Black New World

(p.27) 1 The Ruled and Regulated Self
Black Well-Being

Andrea Stone

University Press of Florida

Black Well-Being commences with a brief history of medicopolitical theory that contributed to systems of black subjugation, focusing in particular on the ideas of early- to mid-nineteenth-century race scientists and legal theorists. This overview travels from Europe to the United States, colonial Canada, and the Caribbean to chart the development and circulation of prominent ideas around blackness and health that emerged from this transcolonial and transnational context. Thinkers appearing in this chapter include influential white intellectuals of the Enlightenment—from disciplines such as politics, philosophy, religion, medicine, law, and what would become anthropology—as they grappled with and debated issues of political rights, human life, capacities for personhood, and “Negro” disease. Prominent figures whose work the chapter interrogates most closely include mid-nineteenth-century medical doctors such as craniologist Samuel George Morton, phrenologist George Combe, ethnologists/polygenesists Josiah C. Nott and J. Aitken Meigs, physician Samuel A. Cartwright, and naturalist John Bachman, as well as jurist and senator William Harper, legal theorist Thomas R. R. Cobb, and professor and college president Thomas Roderick Dew. The chapter lays out the complex medical, scientific, professional, and political context and influential white thinkers with which and with whom the nineteenth-century black literature featured in the subsequent chapters engaged.

Keywords:   race science, medicine, health, disease, law

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