Japanese American Midwives: Culture, Community, And Health Politics, 1880-1950
By Susan L. Smith.
As a part of late nineteenth-century Japanís modernizing quest for empire, midwifery was transformed into a new womanís profession, and the Issei midwives who moved to the United States (sanba) served as cultural brokers as well as birth attendants. Arriving on the mainland, the midwives found an emerging welfare state in which the government assumed some responsibility for welfare, including health and midwifery.
The stories of these women demonstrates the impossibility of clearly separating domestic policy from foreign policy, public health from racial politics, medical care from women's care giving, and the history of women and health from the context of national and international politics.
By setting the history of Japanese American midwives in this larger context, Smith reveals little-known ethnic, racial, and regional aspects of women's history and the history of medicine. Paper: 304 pp.