Wellcome Unit Seminars, Monday 10th November

Michaelmas Term 2014 Seminar Series
‘Disease, Health, and Medicine since 1800’
Convener: Professor Mark Harrison, University of Oxford

Week 5 – 10 November

At: The Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine
Seminar Room, 47 Banbury Road, Oxford

Coffee is available from 2.00pm – Seminars begin at 2.15pm prompt

Samiksha Sehrawat, University of Newcastle

‘Medical philanthropy in Colonial North India’SamikshaSehrawatpic

Dr Sehrawat works on the history of the rapidly expanding colonial medical infrastructure at the national, provincial and local levels by examining how the colonial state viewed provision of health care for Indians. Her research shows that ideologies of rule were challenged by emerging discourses of anti-colonial nationalism and by professional groups. Another running theme in her work has been the interaction between the rural and urban areas of north India, informed by her experience of growing up in a village in Delhi. She explores the social history of hospitals through the experiences of Indian troops (‘sepoys’) and rural Indian women in the twentieth century. In this, a central concern has been the influence of constructions of ethnicity and gender on health care in the military and in women’s hospitals.

She is currently working on a British Academy funded project ‘History of Women’s Hospitals in Colonial India, c.1885-1920’. This project explores the twentieth century history of the Dufferin Fund, the Association of Medical Women in India (AMWI) and the foundation of the Women’s Medical Service in India. It will examine the intermeshing of the colonial state with ‘non-governmental’ philanthropic organizations seeking to improve health care for Indian women. Vicereines acting as incorporated wives and white women doctors acting as medical experts shaped ideas of ‘zenana’ health care in line with imperial ideologies. Her research further shows that by criticizing the ‘improving’ colonial state for inadequate intervention, the AMWI sought to expand the role of female doctors in health care.

Selected publications