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Cornell University    
  Feb 22, 2018
Courses of Study 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANTHR 4682 - [Healing and Medicine in Africa]

(crosslisted) ASRC 4682  
Fall. Next offered 2016-2017. 4 credits.

Prerequisite: ANTHR 1400  or ANTHR 2468  or ANTHR 3465  or permission of instructor.

S. Langwick.

Therapeutic knowledge and practice in Africa have changed dynamically over the past century. Accounts of healing and medicine throughout the continent reveal struggles over how to define social and physical worlds, identify dangers, determine ethical practice, and prioritize some ways of living and of dying. Contemporary therapies embody the tensions and inequalities, the novelties and potentialities, that inhere in broad historical shifts propelled by colonialism, nationalism, civil war, environmental change and globalization. Our readings and discussions will explore the ways in which healing and medicine are simultaneously intimate and political, biological and cultural. During the semester, we will examine conceptions of body and well-being; “traditional medicine” and intersections of Islamic, Chinese, and biomedical ways of healing; humanitarianism and the health “crisis” in Africa; colonial and postcolonial forms of governance through medicine and new possibilities of citizenship through therapeutic identities. We will look at Africa not only as a site of epidemics, but also as a site of innovation and as central to the biopolitics of an emerging global order.

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