Séminaire – A Creole Complex : Yellow Fever, the Atlantic World and the Formation of Early Republican Medical Culture

A jointly sponsored seminar by the Program in Early American Economy and Society at the LCP and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies

Logan Room, The Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA
April 1, 2011 — 3 to 5 p.m.


A Creole Complex : Yellow Fever, the Atlantic World and the Formation of Early Republican Medical Culture

Katherine Arner – Institute for the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, and PEAES Long-term Dissertation Fellow, 2011

The story of early national American medical culture has centered on either internal American developments or Americans’ relations to European metropoles such as London, Edinburgh or Paris. That story becomes much more complex when we look at epidemiological and social phenomena in the broader Atlantic world. Through the persistent problem of yellow fever in tropical climes, as well as the movements of people and ideas throughout the western hemisphere, many Americans cultivated networks with a variety of people outside of Europe who had firsthand experience of yellow fever, networks that in turn affected how American medical writers identified themselves as part of a wider Atlantic world of scientific and medical communities. What came to characterize American medicine in the era of yellow fever was not a nascent nationalist ethos but, rather, a creole complex shaped by an international web of medical writers. This paper traces this development through a close study of the New York-based journal the Medical Repository, one of the first major transnational enterprises that grew out of this medical Atlantic world. Collectively, its authors envisioned the journal as a counterweight to what they saw as the lingering hegemony of Old World explanatory models of diseases and their prevention in a new international context.

Everyone attending should read the precirculated paper for this seminar,
which will be posted by March 18 at www.librarycompany.org/economics.