A group of patients and nurses in the early 20th century Philippines.

An image taken at the leprosarium in Culion, 1905 Image Source: Dean C. Worcester Photographic Collection,
University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology

Working Definition:

Though leprosy was an infectious disease treated in the Philippines during the American colonial period, the use of the term to describe individuals afflicted with this malady is sometimes considered an essentializing slur in contemporary usage. The historical use of the term may be warranted in certain contexts, but we recommend care, deliberation, and discussion prior to its implementation in finding aids and collections guides.

Related Terms:

Suggestions for Further Reading:

Warwick Anderson, Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006); “The Philippines and the University of Michigan: 1870-1935: The Island of No Return”; Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, “The Burden of Stigma: Past Epidemics Reveal How Social Stigma Amplifies the Dangers of Infectious Disease,” Science, September 16, 2020: https://www.science.org/content/article/leprosy-covid-19-how-stigma-makes-it-harder-fight-epidemics