Medicine, Empire and Difference in the Roman World
Dr. Rebecca Flemming
'Empires define, reproduce and order difference among their populations. Medicine has aided and abetted these processes in a variety of ways, most famously through its contributions to the establishment of modern ‘scientific racism’. Before that Hippocratic environmentalist paradigms dominated many imperial powers: peoples were made the way they were by location and climate, amongst other externally operative factors, not by something intrinsic to them and transmissible to their offspring without that outside assistance. This lecture explores how these notions worked in the specific context of the Roman Empire, with its particular commitments to hierarchy and structure, its definitional claims and organisational styles. There was congruity, it is argued, between the theories of human differentiation articulated by medical authors such as Galen and key features of the imperial formation within which he lived and wrote.'
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