“Sanitary Regulation in Britain's Maritime Empire: Disease and Naval Health in Indian Port Cities, 1800-1900”
Supervisor: Professor Mark Harrison
My doctoral thesis looked into the health and welfare of European seamen in the British naval and merchant fleet on board ships and in Indian port cities in the nineteenth century. It examined the sanitary regulations and maritime hygiene implemented by the British Empire to protect the health of their seamen. My thesis argued that seamen’s health in transit and in imperial port cities was instrumental in the development of tropical medicine, the transformation of the theories of nosology, aetiology and disease zones, and emergence of sanitary reform as an indispensable mechanism for empire-building. It examined the ideologies of colonial governance, the idea of public health, and the development of maritime hygiene. I am currently undertaking additional research to expand the scope of this study by looking at how merchant shipping companies provided healthcare to seamen alongside the State and the Church. My doctoral research was funded by the the Wellcome Trust-funded project: 'From Sail to Steam: Health, Medicine and the Victorian Navy'.
My essay " 'Drunkenness, disease, and death broods over the portals: Liquor and Regulation of the Health of European Sailors in Nineteenth-century Calcutta" won the Taniguchi Medal awarded by the Asian Society for the History of Medicine, for the best graduate essay on some aspect of the history of medicine in Asia.