Scholar Talk: Doctored uniforms
With Georgia McWhinney
During the First World War, the dirty and mud-filled environment of trench warfare spurred the onset of various medical conditions. Yet, when soldiers fell ill, it was not immediately recognised that some maladies stemmed from their uniforms. It is well known that medical professionals developed a body of knowledge on the prevention of uniform contamination. It is far less known, however, that soldiers also developed a set of medical ideas and practices. The soldiers’ voices are used not only to highlight their reliance on vernacular medicine, but also to reformulate the boundaries of medical practice, and ask who can be considered a medical practitioner?
Georgia McWhinney is a Visiting Scholar at the State Library of New South Wales, and a PhD candidate in Modern History at Macquarie University. Her work examines medical history and material culture. She is also the social media coordinator for the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine.