Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics by Lundy Braun
English | Feb. 1, 2014 | ISBN: 0816683573 | 304 Pages | PDF | 2 MB
In the antebellum South, plantation physicians used a new medical device—the spirometer—to show that lung volume and therefore vital capacity were supposedly less in black slaves than in white citizens. At the end of the Civil War, a large study of racial difference employing the spirometer appeared to confirm the finding, which was then applied to argue that slaves were unfit for freedom. What is astonishing is that this example of racial thinking is anything but a historical relic.