‘Colonial Hygiene on Exhibit and on Trial’ Subject of Lecture at Sweet Briar

| February 25, 2008

U.S. State Department historian Joe Wicentowski will present a lecture on “Colonial Hygiene on Exhibit and on Trial: The Taibei Police Hygiene Exhibition of 1925” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 4 in the Browsing Room at Sweet Briar’s Cochran Library.

In modern society, policing and hygiene generally are not associated with one another, but in Japanese colonial-era Taiwan, it was the police who enforced the state’s sanitary policies. Wicentowski examines the historical record from the 1925 “Taibei Police Hygiene Exhibition” – its contents, administrative documents and the public’s reaction from news accounts – for what it reveals about Taiwan’s colonial period under the Japanese at that time.

The five-day exhibition “vividly propagandized” the colonial state’s policing of health and hygiene, according to Wicentowski’s description of the lecture.

“At a time when a nascent Taiwanese nationalism was beginning to assert an autonomous role in Taiwan’s modernization, in areas from health and hygiene practice to the exercise of political power, the exhibition opened a space for contesting the norms of colonial culture and politics,” he wrote.

According to the State Department’s Web site, its historians research and write historical studies on aspects of U.S. diplomacy for use by policymakers in the department and in other agencies as well for public information.

Contact John Ashbrook at 381-6174 or jashbrook@sbc.edu for more information.

Category: History