In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, quarantine intensified and expanded under the direction of national and imperial state power that harnessed new medical technologies, knowledge and networks. As quarantine regulations instituted national surveillance and gatekeeping nets, they also contributed to the traffic of medical knowledge and monitoring between empire states that regulate human movement and commerce. In the wake of turn-of-the-century cholera and bubonic plague pandemics, the United States federalised port quarantine stations and coupled procedures of passengers’ medical investigation to immigration regulation. US quarantine processes, institutions and personnel proliferated and transmitted medical knowledge that connected both nationally and globally to shape, pressure and inform quarantine procedures worldwide. In the United States, the pre-emptive detention of Chinese, Japanese and other Asian immigrants meant quarantine officers had the opportunity to conduct intensive and time-consuming procedures through body-scanning techniques, specifically the use of microscopic and X-ray technology and diagnostic interpretation to guard national health security. In this Chapter, I address how medical interpretation under quarantine detention made and transmitted knowledge of bodily disability and veracity and, through body-scanning procedures, hardened racial, ethnic and class scrutiny, suspicion and differences.
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