When Science Needed Slavery: The Development of Scientific Knowledge in the Caribbean and the Americas

Jim Downs

Connecticut College

Jim Downs is an Associate professor of History at Connecticut College. His books include Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction (Oxford UP, 2012).   The subject of this paper draws on research for his current book project, The Laboring Dead: From Subjugation to Science in Global History (Harvard UP, forthcoming).  In 2015, he was awarded an Andrew w. Mellon New Directions Fellowship and was a fellow in medical anthropology at Harvard University.


Before the bacteriological revolution, doctors studied air and environment to understand the spread of disease.  Nineteenth-century European physicians used enslaved and native people’s bodies on Caribbean and American... [ view full abstract ]


  1. Jim Downs (Connecticut College)

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P77 » Bodies in Im/Proper Places: Geography, Climate, and Ideology in Scientific Research (14:00 - Saturday, 24th March, Enchantment A)

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