Colonial Pathologies

The American acquisition of the Philippines is an event in American history that is largely forgotten, overlooked, or briefly mention in textbooks. Fortunately, Dr. Warwick Anderson form the University of Sydney seeks to not only establish why Americans sought take possession of the Philippines but what was the American intention after U.S. troops island hopped across the archipelago in the name of civilizing the Filipinos with the Krag. Armed with photos, personal counts( by physicians and U.S. troopers), and racist  Social Darwinist propaganda, Dr. Anderson seeks to chart the colonial development and deferral of what might be called biomedical citizenship and to suggest continuities between the late colonial civilizing process and international development projects. Which will all Anderson trace the genealogy development back to the medical mobilization of civic potential on the Philippines in the early twentieth century (pgs. 3-4).                                                                                                             

The strongest aspect of Dr. Andersons work is that it pulls no punches when comes to describing the mental attitude the Americans had toward the Filipinos. In practice, the term healthy native referred to a deceptive appearance not to any exemption from disease carriage, which usually implied a qualifier: apparently. As such, physicians did not hesitate to magnify the threatening microbial pathology that lurked within native bodies (pg. 94). Anderson argues that American physicians saw themselves as being doubly representatives for the  body and unlike Filipinos, they produced abstraction, by mouth and by hand, not waste or at least neither dangerous nor visible waste. White Americans talk, report, police, supervise, hunt, fish, and fight: but after reading the medical documents produced in the Philippines in the first decade of the century, one suspects they rarely went to the toilet. Americans bodies became abstracted from the filthy exuberance of the tropics, represented as truly civilized models for Filipinos. However, this American sublime demanded relentless self-discipline and in this sense, the disparagement and civilizing of Filipinos would be a labor of American repression (pg. 111). By including these instances of racial judgment  Dr. Anderson opens allows the reader to understand why many American textbooks shy away from showcasing not only the American acquisition of the Philippians but the brutality and disgusting reality happen during the Philippine War but the insertion of American ideals after the war. I would compare Anderson’s work to what Diana said about Scott Zesch’s The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871, in a sense that what the Americans choose to do with the Philippines and its citizens was not out kindness and compassion for improving the public health of the Filipinos. Rather a choice they made because they wanted to make the Philippines into a place that they can call civilized because they felt it needed to be. As a result, the reader is left feeling sympathetic for these individuals who are forced to conform to American standards and the consequences that resonate from them which can be consider good or bad pending which perspective the reader chooses to look at. 

Nevertheless, the most controversial aspect of Dr. Anderson’s work is that he seems to argue that l the racial stereotypes, social Darwinist ideals, and conformity that the Americans placed on the Filipinos regarding their health seemed to advance public health in both the Philippines and the United States. For which he mentioned the influence of the colonial Philippines on the public health in the United States varied considerably. In general, the medical experiences of empire served to amplify pr channel existing features of domestic public health work to reshape or extend structures and policies already on place, rather than introducing wholly new procedures and goals. In particular, colonial experiences tended to focus more attention on the fault lines of race and force recognition of the need to intervene more vigorously to reform the personal and domestic hygiene of those on the margins of society to propel them into civic and medical trajectories (pg. 230). Although what he needs to clarify is that the advancement and improvements on public health on both sides of the Pacific was a gradual process in which was accomplished by improved methods and practices of doctors who gained a better understanding of biology in addition to advances in science. Because the he seems to jump around between different decades a lot, which can through the reader off if he or she is not familiar with the subject material.

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