The introduction establishes the central, and heretofore undeveloped, connection in Britain between quarantine as the traditional means of preventing the spread of disease across borders, and the introduction of medical restrictions to immigration in Britain in 1905. It initiates the discussion of Britain's ports as particular geographical and representational spaces where the border between ideas of ‘foreign’ and ‘domestic’ (or ‘internal’ and ‘external’) were negotiated. This space, as opposed to the unyielding line presupposed by national borders, was key to the way port health was shaped during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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