Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Herman Bennett

Subject Categories

History | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Latin American History


Cuba, medical history, professionalization, smallpox, vaccination


This dissertation tracks the introduction and development of smallpox vaccination in colonial Cuba from the early nineteenth century to the American occupation of 1898. Native (creole) medical practitioners utilized smallpox vaccination as an instrument for securing status as professionals and conceptualizing new identities in a colonial slave society. The smallpox vaccination program allowed licensed practitioners to create a medical monopoly, foster scientific standards and cultivate a medical ethic. Creole vaccinators initially identified with a colonial state that protected their professional interests as necessary for the maintenance of Cuba's slave-based, agro-industrial sugar complex. By the end of the nineteenth century however, professional divestment and ethnic strife convinced fledgling medical professionals to mobilize their creole, scientific identities against Spanish colonial rule.



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