Commodity culture: tropical health and hygiene in the British Empire

Ryan Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


Before heading to a 'tropical' region of the Empire, British men and women spent considerable time and effort gathering outfit believed essential for their impending trip. Ordinary items such as soap, clothing, foodstuffs and bedding became transformed into potentially life-saving items that required the fastidious attention of any would-be traveller. Everyone from scientists and physicians to missionaries and administrators was bombarded by relentless advertising and abundant advice about the outfit needed to preserve health in a tropical climate. A closer look at this marketing exercise reveals much about the way people thought about tropical people, places, health and hygiene and how scientific and commercial influences shaped this Imperial commodity culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-74
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


  • Imperial commodity culture
  • tropical health and hygiene
  • British Empire
  • outfit
  • scientific and commercial influences

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