Black Nurses, Enslaved Labour, and the Royal Navy, 1790-1820

Thu, 25 March 2021 18:00 – 19:30 GMT

Dr Erin Spinney reveals the history of Black nurses before Florence Nightingale in the annual History of Nursing Forum Lecture.

Nursing historians usually examine the period after Florence Nightingale and focus on the establishment of a white middle-class professional identity, like Nightingale herself.

But what about non-white nurses before Nightingale? For the annual History of Nursing Forum lecture, Dr Erin Spinney discusses the employment of Black nurses in the West Indian naval hospitals of the Royal Navy in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. She considers how eighteenth-century understandings of tropical diseases contributed to Black labour in medical settings, how the Royal Navy navigated its relationship with enslavement, and the working conditions of these nurses.

Erin Spinney is a sessional lecturer at the University of Lethbridge. Her research interests focus on nursing, labour, environmental, and medical history in the long eighteenth-century British Atlantic World. She has published on eighteenth-century naval nursing and environmental history.

Please register to attend and a link will be circulated in advance with instructions on how to join the event. All tickets must be booked individually.

Image : A parody astrological diagram showing opposing aspects of the life of settlers in Jamaica, 1800. Credit: Wellcome Collection

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