Friday, January 6, 2012: 9:30 AM
Chicago Ballroom A (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
This presentation examines the relationship between physicians in Yucatán, Mexico, and the broader Atlantic biomedical community from the early nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. My hypothesis is that emerging biomedical practices and technologies were “flatter” in the nineteenth century and became more “centered” over time. Medical knowledge and technologies were more readily and equitably accessible early in the development of biomedicine. Thus the Yucatec Junta Superior de Sanidad
(General Board of Health, 1894) differed little in practice, ideology, or purpose from those in Mexico City or other places. It pursued its domestic agenda, with little national or international influences. Biomedical centers (and peripheries) developed over the course of the twentieth century, with clear loci of authority and influence. Yucatec biomedical practitioners became peripheral to the Mexican state, and to centers of biomedicine and international public health.
Based upon a prosoprographical analysis of almost 500 physicians, this work traces the growth of the Yucatec medical community, its changing composition, and its relationship with other areas of the Atlantic medical community. I analyze medical education, public health practices, professional organizations, and medical journals to determine local patterns in comparison to patterns common to the broader community. Though peripheral to the main hubs of the Atlantic medical community, Yucatec physicians were active participants in the medical discourse of this era, even as the nature of their roles within that community changed dramatically over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.