By Harald Fischer-Tiné
This booklet argues that the background of colonial empires has been formed to a substantial volume through adverse feelings corresponding to anxiousness, worry and embarrassment in addition to by means of the usual prevalence of panics. The case reviews it assembles study a number of the ways that panics and anxieties have been generated in imperial occasions and the way they shook up the dynamics among doubtless omnipotent colonizers and the it seems that defenceless colonized. Drawing from examples of the British, Dutch and German colonial event, the amount sketches out a few of the major components (such as illness, local ‘savagery’ or sexual transgression) that generated panics or created anxieties in colonial settings and analyses the commonest forms of useful, discursive and epistemic thoughts followed via the colonisers to shrink the perceived threats.
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Extra info for Anxieties, Fear and Panic in Colonial Settings: Empires on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
9 This curious claim grafted Beard’s now- fashionable diagnosis, with its emphasis on psychiatric disorders, onto long-standing European concerns about the tropical climate. Woodruff’s diagnosis struck a sympathetic chord with the growing number of medical officers and other physicians who were struggling to treat the often obscure symptoms their countrymen manifested in newly acquired tropical colonies. Appearing on the scene at the very moment that tropical medicine was establishing itself as a distinct disciplinary field with its own specialists and body of knowledge, it is perhaps not surprising that this new variant of neurasthenia was soon classified as a distinct clinical condition known as tropical neurasthenia.
And both attributed these disorders to much the same root cause—the collision between imperial modernity and indigenous primitivism. Taken together, the two theories gave expression to a deepening anxiety that European empires were on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The historical context for the rise of these two medico-moral theories was the consolidation of Western colonial rule across large portions of the globe at the turn of the twentieth century, especially in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Politics, History, and Culture. Durham: Duke University Press. Goode, Erich, and Nachman Ben-Yehuda. 1994. Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance. Oxford: Blackwell. Grove, Richard. 1995. Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600–1800. Studies in Environment and History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Guha, Ranajit. 1997. Not at Home in Empire. Critical Inquiry 23(3): 482–93. Roberts. 1978. Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order.