Today’s discussion was as lively as usual and we discussed the questions “What is Race?”, “What is Racism?”, and “Does race have any relevance in medicine?” specifically referring to our readings that discussed ideas of race in 18th and 19th century colonial medicine. We discussed the monogeny and polygeny theories of race from that time, we discussed how the seeming inability of Europeans to adapt to tropical climates gave them an inferiority complex, and then we discussed modern ideas of race as more of a social identity based on both biological and cultural ancestry rather than a definitive biological category. That was all in the first hour class.
The second hour was dedicated to watching an episode of the chow “Who do you think you are?” about comedian and impressionist, Alistair McGowan, and his investigation into his paternal ancestry. It was particularly interesting as he had always thought he was British and Scottish, but it turned out he was Anglo-Indian and Irish, The episode followed him as he traced his ancestry back through India to find when his ancestors first arrived in India from the UK and when an Indian Woman first married into his family(a very common practice during the British Raj). It was a fascinating look into how your constructed cultural identity may not be based on facts.
Following class, I did what I do nearly every day and wandered upstairs to the Master’s students office, had lunch with some classmates and lamented Trump’s Super Tuesday victories, before heading off to the library to get classwork done. I am currently working on an Essay that is due next week for this History of Medicine class. The Assignment is to write about the way in which historians write about disease and I am focusing on Tuberculosis(Yes, I know. Such an uplifting topic). The bright side is that I got a desk by a window so when I took breaks from reading I was able to enjoy a view of one of the most beautiful courtyards on campus, where at one point I got to see snow start falling, even though it really isn’t that cold here right now(about 40 F or 6 C).
After the library, I wandered down to the Sainsburys Local that is closest to campus and my flat to pick up some food to make for dinner and then made my way home for the day. The biggest adjustment to living here has definitely been not having the convenience of a car or large grocery stores so I have to shop much more often and usually have to be flexible about what I want to buy and adjust based on what’s available. Once I got home, I decided to relax and do a little more reading for next weeks classes and then I made some delicious Balsamic glazed Chicken and veggies for dinner. Now, I will spend the rest of my evening planning the two week Backpacking trip I am taking during my upcoming Easter break, but more on that later!
From one misguided millennial to the world, this has been a recap of my day!