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Encountering Oceania: Bodies, Health and Disease, 1768-1846.

Robertson, Duncan (2017) Encountering Oceania: Bodies, Health and Disease, 1768-1846. PhD thesis, University of York.

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THESIS FINAL D ROBERTSON - December 2017 v2.pdf - Examined Thesis (PDF)
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This thesis offers a critical re-evaluation of representations of bodies, health and disease across almost a century of European and North American colonial encounters in Oceania, from the late eighteenth-century voyages of James Cook and William Bligh, to the settlement of Australia, to the largely fictional prose of Herman Melville’s Typee. Guided by a contemporary and cross-disciplinary analytical framework, it assesses a variety of media including exploratory journals, print culture, and imaginative prose to trace a narrative trajectory of Oceania from a site which offered salvation to sickly sailors to one which threatened prospective settlers with disease. This research offers new contributions to Pacific studies and medical history by examining how late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century concepts of health and disease challenged, shaped and undermined colonial expansion in Oceania from 1768-1846. In particular, it aims to reassess the relationship between contemporary thinking on bodies, health and disease, and the process of colonial exploration and settlement in the period studied. It argues that this relationship was less schematic than some earlier scholarship has allowed, and adopts narrative medical humanities approaches to consider how disease and ill-health was perceived from individual as well as institutional perspectives. Finally, this thesis analyses representations of bodies, health and disease in the period from 1768-1846 in two ways. First, by tracing the passage of disease from ship to shore and second, by assessing the legacy of James Cook’s three Pacific voyages on subsequent phases of exploration and settlement in Oceania.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Mr Duncan Robertson
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 08:59
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2018 08:59
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19282

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