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Curing Their Ills : Colonial Power and African Illness - Megan Vaughan

Curing Their Ills

Colonial Power and African Illness

Paperback Published: 1st October 1991
ISBN: 9780804719711
Number Of Pages: 236

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This is a lively and original book, which treats Western biomedical discourse about illness in Africa as a cultural system that constructed "the African" out of widely varying, and sometimes improbable, materials. Referring mainly to British dependencies in East and Central Africa in the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, it draws on diverse sources ranging from court records and medical journals to fund-raising posters and "jungle doctor" cartoons. Curing Their Ills brings refreshing concreteness and dynamism to the discussion of European attitudes toward their others, as it traces the shifts and variations in medical discourse on African illness.Among the topics the book covers are the differences between missionary medicine, which emphasized individual responsibility for sin and disease, and secular medicine, which tended toward an ethnic model of collective pathology; leprosy and the construction of the social role of "the leper"; and the struggle to define insanity in a context of great ignorance about what the "normal African" was like and a determination to crush indigenous beliefs about bewitchment.The underlying assumption of this discourse was that disease was produced by the disintegration and degeneration of "tribal" cultures, which was seen to be occurring in the process of individualization and modernization. This was a cultural rather than a materialist model, the argument being that Africans were made sick not by the material changes to their lives and environment, but by their cultural "maladaptation" to modern life. The "scientific" discourse about the biological inferiority of "the African," traced by one school of scientists to defects in the frontal lobe, makes painful reading today; it persisted into the 1950s.

Rats' Tails and Trypanosomes
the Great Dispensary in the Sky
Without the Camp
the Madman and the Medicine Men
Syphilis and Sexuality
Hippo Happenings
'seeing is Believing'
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780804719711
ISBN-10: 0804719713
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 236
Published: 1st October 1991
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.36
Edition Type: New edition

Earn 144 Qantas Points
on this Book