Medical deportees: narrations and pathographies of health at the borders of Great Britain, Egypt, and Palestine, 1919-1949


  • Dr Lauren Banko

    University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Project summary

Beginning in earnest in the early 20th century, land and sea borders of sovereign states and colonial possessions became strictly regulated by governmental authorities. Immigrants permitted to enter Great Britain and its overseas territories had to meet increasingly stringent criteria. These were based on the desire that members of a population be suitable for residence, employment, and eventually, citizenship. Historical understandings of the connection between public health and immigration restrictions are largely based on professional knowledge taken from clinical records and legislative processes. I will produce the first history on the category of 'medically undesirable' immigrants/deportees using documentary sources from refugees, displaced persons, and precarious socio-economic migrants regarding their encounters with border restrictions in Great Britain, Egypt, and Palestine. These sources explore how migrants framed emotional and bodily suffering. In doing so, I underscore how their experiences influenced postcolonial knowledge on the mental and physical impact of border controls.