[SydPhil] HPS Research Seminar, Monday 23, October 2023 at 5:30pm

HPS Admin hps.admin at sydney.edu.au
Mon Oct 16 10:00:00 AEDT 2023

School of History and Philosophy of Science


[The University of Sydney]


Working towards new inoculation histories: Smallpox Vaccinations in Australia’s Coastal North

Chi Chi Huang (UNSW)

Dates: Monday, 23/10/2023
Time: 5:30pm
Venue: Madsen Building (F09), Level 3, Room 331
How to register: Free, no registration required

Abstract: This paper explores two neglected smallpox vaccination campaigns in the early twentieth century that took place along Australia’s coastal north. Not only does this paper argue that these were the first two pre-emptive, rather than reactive, vaccination programs directed toward First Nations people, but also suggests how these communities were embedded into a ‘hygienic border’ for the protection of white Australia. By telling this history, this paper draws out new (and tentative) avenues of research in thinking about this medical technology in the construction of Australia’s national identity. I do this by positing the following questions. In what ways and when were vaccinations and inoculations construed as an individual right or a civic duty? And, how can inoculation histories in Australia be told beyond the polarised attitudes towards this medical technology?

Bio: Chi Chi Huang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at UNSW, Sydney on an ARC-SRI funded project, ‘Rethinking medico-legal borders: From international to internal histories’. She is an environmental and medical humanities historian of the Asia-Pacific in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


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