Chapter 15: Abstract

Changing Modes of Warfare and the Gendering of Military Medical Care in Continental and Colonial Wars, 1850s–1920s

Jean H. Quataert (Binghamton University SUNY, Department of History)


The chapter centers on the gendering of battlefield services found at the nexus of war, law and medicine from the 1850s to the 1920s. It offers a socio-legal analysis of the impact of states’ accession to the Geneva Conventions of 1864 (revised in 1906), which brought a medical reform agenda into national life and simultaneously created a global network of relief associations in the international Red Cross movement. Blending global and local analyses, the chapter examines the diverse national struggles that gained women entry into battlefield nursing and explores the complex motives sustaining the work of the gendered medical staff on the global battlefields. It offers a historically-sensitive assessment of the evolution of humanitarian practices in their formative ties to war and their place in helping shape the new face of international public health under the League of Nations after 1918.


Geneva Conventions; International Public Health; International Red Cross Movement; Medical Battlefield Services; Military Nurses; People’s War; War Casualties; Gender; Women; Crimean War; World War I; Europe; Japan; United States.

In Part II “Wars of Nations and Empires” of the Oxford Handbook of Gender and War since 1600.

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