Publication details

Public health as an agent of internal colonialism in interwar Czechoslovakia: shaping the discourse about the nation’s children


SHMIDT Victoria

Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Patterns of Prejudice
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Keywords children; Czechoslovakia; ethnic minorities; internal colonialism; interwar period; population policy; public health; Rusyns; Slovaks
Description Shmidt’s text discusses the specifics of internal colonialism in the discourses and practices of the dominant group (Czechs) concerning Slovaks and Rusyns, ethnic groups from the peripheral, eastern areas of interwar Czechoslovakia. By targeting the reproductive patterns of these groups, seen as undesirable by the authorities, internal colonialism shaped the discourse about children by consistently opposing the normalized childhood inside the nation to the supposedly abnormal child development outside the civilizing process. Shmidt focuses on three interwar projects aimed at introducing new public health practices as an ‘infrastructure of dependence’ with regard to the peripheral groups. Being directly supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, these projects contributed to building the new Czechoslovak nation and securing its international legitimacy.
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