History of Medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lyn Schumaker

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199546497
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 History of Medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa

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This article aims to bring together two historiographical strands, one originating in the discipline of the history of medicine, and the other originating in African history. It begins with African medicine and its historical development and discusses colonial medicine, which is the subject of much recent scholarship. Africa's experience of colonial medicine has challenged the traditional view of colonial hegemony. It shows that valuable insights have come through study of the variable acceptance of colonial medicine in Africa and it has strengthened the racial cleavages of colonial societies. It discusses the historiography of medicine in Africa, pointing out its gaps and failures as well as its accomplishments. It directs attention to the underlying conditions of the production of research — funding priorities and publication targets that maintain the dominance of the history of Western medicine as a subject, while marginalizing the medical traditions of Africa and the developing world.

Keywords: historiographical strands; colonial medicine; Africa; history; research

Article.  9150 words. 

Subjects: History ; African History

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