Two decades or so after decolonization post-World War II, a small but growing group of historians of medicine directed their attention to disease and health care in colonial settings. The undergraduate seminar examines this literature as well as readings from a range of disciplines—history, anthropology, medicine, and public health—to make sense of the ways in which indigenous populations interacted with colonial medical practices and various medical actors (hygienists, military personnel, missionaries, medical doctors, etc.) and how in turn these biocolonial and bioimperial projects were deployed, to what end, and with what consequences. The seminar explores issues related to race, religion, modernity, subjectivity, imperial ambitions, and agency (local and foreign) through the lens of public health policies, epidemics, psychiatry, medical schools, diseases, and hospitals. The seminar finally examines two emerging and intertwined literatures: (i) the colonial genealogy of the “global heath” paradigm, and (ii) the post-colonial histories of diseases, health care infrastructures, behaviors, and practices as they now play out in post-colonial settings.
Link to Vergil