“The value of the Victorian infant”: whiteness and the emergence of paediatrics in late colonial Australia

Featherstone, Lisa (2007). “The value of the Victorian infant”: whiteness and the emergence of paediatrics in late colonial Australia. In: Leigh Boucher, Jane Carey and Katherine Ellinghaus, Historicising Whiteness: Transnational Perspectives on the Construction of an Identity. Historicising Whiteness Conference, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, (445-453). 22-24 November 2006.

Author Featherstone, Lisa
Title of paper “The value of the Victorian infant”: whiteness and the emergence of paediatrics in late colonial Australia
Conference name Historicising Whiteness Conference
Conference location Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Conference dates 22-24 November 2006
Proceedings title Historicising Whiteness: Transnational Perspectives on the Construction of an Identity
Place of Publication Melbourne, Victoria
Publisher RMIT Publishing
Publication Year 2007
Year available 2007
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status Not Open Access
ISBN 9781921166808
Editor Leigh Boucher
Jane Carey
Katherine Ellinghaus
Start page 445
End page 453
Total pages 9
Chapter number 50
Total chapters 53
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Of all the groups treated by the medical profession, infants were amongst the most vulnerable: the late-nineteenth century baby had a rather tenuous hold on life. Prior to the 1880s and 1890s, the health and wellbeing of the child had largely been subsumed into that of the mother, and medically the child was subordinated into the disciplines of obstetrics and gynecology. From the late-nineteenth century, however, there was an increasing emphasis on the child as an individual body. The predominant signifier of such an interest was the rise of a new specialised discipline to cater for the child: paediatrics. Traditional explanations for the emergence and growth of paediatrics have centred upon Romantic ideas of the child, suggesting that the body of the child was medicalised because it was increasingly viewed as separate and special. This paper suggests that in the colonies, the separate speciality of paediatrics developed in response to issues of population and whiteness. The new interest in child health was a response to the social, political, and economic needs of the emerging nation, with doctors suggesting that the loss of an Australian baby was far more serious than the corresponding loss of an English infant. Child life and child health were increasingly perceived as assets for the white nation, and the need for a young and vigorous white population provided the immediate urgency for the focus and growth of paediatrics.
Keyword Paediatrics
Childhood
Infants
Whiteness
Medicine
Australian history
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Paper available online at: http://search.informit.org/documentSummary;dn=872320589171395;res=IELHSS

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Mon, 08 Aug 2016, 12:29:32 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry