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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The ‘Health and Healing’ field emerged in the late 1970s as a way to focus more on vernacular healing practice and the politics of health. The essay covers an earlier generation of colonial anthropological work; key concepts like public healing, the social costs of production, drums of affliction, ambivalence, translation, debility, care, and therapeutic citizenship; and major themes, including colonial medicine, health workers, reproductive health, the psychiatric, experimentality, global health, and conjoined healing and harming dynamics. It argues that the field produced a now vibrant and quite presentist genre, ethnographic history; that the new STS-influenced work on materialities, memory, and war is vital; but that this field in African history is also worthy of robust research producing a deeper past.

Keywords: ethnographic history, drum of affliction, psychiatry, public healing, social costs of production, sorcery, science and technology studies.

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