IIAS Publications Series Monographs

Their Footprints Remain: Biomedical Beginnings Across the Indo-Tibetan Frontier

Alex McKay

At the end of the 19th century, Western medicine was introduced into Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan by British imperial medical officers and Christian medical missionaries. Their Footprints Remain: Biomedical Beginnings Across the Indo-Tibetan Frontier uses archival sources, personal letters, diaries, and oral sources to tell the fascinating story of how the new medical system became imbedded in the Himalayas. It identifies the individuals involved, including the local employees of the British, describes how the new system spread, and discusses how it was received by the local people of this region, whose own medical practices were based on an entirely different understanding of the world. It will appeal to everyone with an interest in medical history and anthropology, or the Himalayan world.

Alex McKay has a PhD in South Asian History from the School of Oriental and African Studies (London University). A former research fellow at SOAS and the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London, he is an affiliated fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden. His research centres the history and culture of Tibet and the Indian Himalayas, particularly during the British colonial period.

‘Alex McKay provides a well-written and thoughtful account that reflects his wide knowledge and broad approach. This book makes an important contribution to how we consider the many issues involved in the introduction and spread of ‘Western medicine' in different parts of this fascinating region.'

- Dr. Susan Heydon, University of Otago