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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Missionaries, African patients, and negotiating missionary medicine at Kalene Hospital, Zambia, 1906-1935
Author:Kalusa, Walima T.
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:health care
traditional medicine
medical history
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070.2014.896717
Abstract:Until recently, European medical missionaries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were often portrayed as all-powerful heroes who plied their craft without being soiled by the cultural commerce of the people they encountered in imperial contexts. Such histories often cast colonial subjects as beneficiaries of missionary medicine who, none the less, routinely contested the medical authority and power of missionary medics. This article on missionary medicine at the Kalene Hospital in Zambia casts a shadow on these analyses. It insists that scholarship informed by the dominance-resistance debate obfuscates how missionary healers and their African interlocutors minimised their ontological differences of healing so that each party incorporated idioms and practices from the other's medical system(s). As a corollary, the missionary and local medical systems came to coexist, enabling African patients to move easily between these systems of healing as they sought cures to their ills. Mission doctors, on the other hand, practised their medicine in ways that were culturally meaningful to their patients. The encounter between them and Africans thus resulted in cultural and intellectual exchange that has long been glossed over by historians who project the encounter as a site of endless confrontation. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]