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3 - Suffering Bodies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2022

Lachlan Fleetwood
Affiliation:
University College Dublin
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Summary

Altitude sickness was little understood in the early nineteenth century, and the inconsistency of symptoms led some to doubt a constant cause. This led to tensions when European travellers were forced to compare their bodily performance against their South Asian companions. This chapter begins by contextualising altitude sickness in relation to lowland colonial anxieties around health, acclimatisation and air. Next is a discussion of indigenous understandings of altitude and a consideration of the ways the performances of bodies were recorded in travel narratives. Finally, the chapter considers experimental approaches around quantification. The chapter argues that there was a politics of comparison that developed around altitude sickness at multiple scales: in the way bodies, European and South Asian, experienced altitude sickness; in the way comparisons affected interactions within expedition parties; in the way these were represented in written accounts to avoid upsetting supposed superiority; and in the way these ultimately constituted high mountains as aberrant environments in relation to lowland norms.

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Science on the Roof of the World
Empire and the Remaking of the Himalaya
, pp. 96 - 129
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Suffering Bodies
  • Lachlan Fleetwood, University College Dublin
  • Book: Science on the Roof of the World
  • Online publication: 28 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009128117.004
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Suffering Bodies
  • Lachlan Fleetwood, University College Dublin
  • Book: Science on the Roof of the World
  • Online publication: 28 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009128117.004
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Suffering Bodies
  • Lachlan Fleetwood, University College Dublin
  • Book: Science on the Roof of the World
  • Online publication: 28 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009128117.004
Available formats
×