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Barbed-Wire ImperialismBritain's Empire of Camps, 1876-1903$
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Aidan Forth

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293960

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293960.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

“Only Matched in Times of Famine and Plague”

“Only Matched in Times of Famine and Plague”

Life and Death in the Concentration Camps

(p.159) Chapter 6 “Only Matched in Times of Famine and Plague”
Barbed-Wire Imperialism

Aidan Forth

University of California Press

This chapter examines inmate life inside the Anglo-Boer War concentration camps. Native African refugees were segregated into a system of labor camps while British officials developed a form of governmentality that sought to educate, anglicize and rehabilitate Boer refugees by inculcating British cultural ideals and industrial habits, thereby transforming them into imperial citizens and willing partners of a British South Africa. The medical techniques of quarantine and segregation were adapted to inmates suspected of political subversion, who were detained in undesirable camps. Ultimately, both African and Boer camps suffered from the spread of epidemic diseases like measles, which resulted in staggering mortality rates in the camps and created a damaging political scandal in Britain. The humanitarian reformer Emily Hobhouse noted that scenes of suffering and death in the concentration camps could only be matched by similar sights during plague and famine in India.

Keywords:   Governmentality, Rehabilitate, Anglicize, Imperial citizens, Undesirable camps, Epidemic diseases, Emily Hobhouse, Humanitarian reformer, Epidemic disease, mortality

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