Disorder and Diagnosis in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula
A seminar with Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Laura Goffman, University of Oslo.
Free admission and open to all.
Histories of the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula have focused on the political and economic dynamics of relationships between local elites, transregional merchant communities, British officials, and tribal challengers. But it was disease, rather than imperial politics or tribal skirmishes, that was the overwhelmingly predominant cause of daily hardships and loss of life in Gulf communities of the pre-oil period. The urgent need to address health issues prompted imperial governments and embryonic local states to intervene in the physical lives of Gulf residents. New institutions formed the basis of early state biopolitical interventions and mediated interactions between established communities and recent arrivals. Indigenous actors engaged with local and transregional processes in the spheres of health, sanitation, and medicine. In this lecture, I trace several specific health events to reconstruct how the convergence of the imperial state, disease, and changing imaginaries of medicine and science shaped experiences of empire and modernity in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula.