29 Mai 2023


Basel Graduate School of History


Workshop: "Rethinking Decolonisation: African Knowledge, Religion and Global Health"

Basel Graduate School of History, University of Basel

Decolonization discourses on African medicine lend credence to development in the West and largely dismiss the relevance of local knowledge systems and practices to global health. These misconceptions about Africa changed after WW2 to contemporary times as Africa became the hub for experimenting with innovations that have accelerated global sustainable development in the healthcare sectors. Challenging imperial domination in African medical history, this workshop looks beyond the delegitimisation of healing institutions to reflect on African contributions in the field of global African medicine. In particular, it focuses on methods, approaches, knowledge, and practices initiated by Africans which have been and are still relevant in global spheres. At a time, where reframing traditional health through heritage discourses and practices may present a route to the institutionalisation of these practices, this workshop brings into dialogue, through the lens of decolonisation, how local knowledge fosters global policies to address the escalating menace of mortality in contemporary time.

Through an interdisciplinary approach from history, anthropology, religion, and public and global health, this workshop examines the role of Africa in the development of knowledge, innovations, and policy related to health - with a focus on themes with international reach (such as healthcare systems, environmental health, maternal health, African traditional medicine, religious belief systems, and healing, etc.). Research questions could include but are not limited to: What sources and methodologies are used in the reconstruction of the history of global health in Africa? How is decolonialisation/ty impacting African contributions to global health? How have the foundational roles of culture and religion influenced African contributions? What medical innovations can be credited to the African continent? What are the potentials and constraints of decolonising the history of global health? How have Africans shaped developments in medical practices and global health sectors? What is the significance of African indigenous knowledge in the history of global health? Is it right to suggest that Africans have been represented in international health organisations?

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