Assistant Professor Meredith Reifschneider has a new publication


This study explores the effects of Danish colonial healthcare policy on enslaved people in St Croix, Danish West Indies. After the slave-trade ban in 1803, colonial administrators and planters implemented healthcare policies to curb demographic decline. This included constructing hospitals at privately owned plantations. Plantation hospitals were overseen by European physicians, but daily care was provided by enslaved nurses. This study draws on previous archaeological research on insitutions and African Diaspora healthcare systems in order to examine how enslaved nurses negotiated the effects of top-down colonial medicine within the context of a plantation hospital at Estate Cane Garden. Archaeological findings indicate that nurses drew from a range of local plant and animal resources to provide care for their patients. The lack of easily definable medical artefacts from the hospital draws into relief the need for archaeologists to reconsider how healthcare and healing in the past are interpreted.

Reifschneider, M. 2018. Enslavement and institutionalized care: The politics of health in nineteenth-century St Croix, Danish West Indies. World Archaeology 50(3).

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