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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Religion and medicine at the crossroads: a re-examination of the Southern Rhodesian influenza epidemic of 1918
Author:Simmons, DavidISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:35
Issue:1
Pages:29-44
Language:English
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:influenza
epidemics
attitudes
missions
African religions
1910-1919
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070802685536
Abstract:This article seeks to explore the nexus of religion and medicine in accounting for African and missionary responses to the 1918 influenza epidemic in Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe). Africans' explanatory models drew on a much wider sphere - sacred, social and biological - than their missionary and colonial counterparts, and their experience of the affliction led to an epistemological rupture in these explanatory models, resulting in a crisis in faith. Missionaries' explanatory models derived primarily from biomedicine, but missionaries were highly strategic in emphasizing the sacred nature of the epidemic when it came to the possibility of African conversion. The ambivalence engendered by these competing explanatory frameworks (biomedical and African vernacular) would ultimately lead to a rejection of both in the form of anti-medical movements. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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