Professor of African Diaspora Studies Stephen Small from the University of California Berkeley,who was born in Liverpool 8, will describe and examine health, disease and medicine at the turn of the 20th century in Liverpool, Great Britain and the British Empire, especially Africa. Using the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as a springboard, Stephen will consider how theories of Social Darwinism and Eugenics shaped government and elite group attitudes towards Black people at home and across the British Empire.
Medical initiatives and discoveries for the treatment, cure and prevention of tropical diseases dramatically enhanced the ability of Great Britain to conquer and settle vast territories across Africa. This demanded a response from the foremost Pan-Africanists of the time who concerned with the health of Africans at home and in the diaspora and changed the course of history. Despite happening over a century ago, these developments share some eerie similarities with the experiences of Black people during the covid-19 public health crisis in Britain today.