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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From an agency of cultural destruction to an agency of public health: transformations in Catholic missionary medicine in post-colonial eastern Zambia, 1964-1982: Walima T. Kalusa
Author:Kalusa, Walima T.ISNI
Year:2014
Periodical:Social Sciences and Missions = Sciences sociales et missions (ISSN 1874-8937)
Volume:27
Issue:2-3
Pages:219-238
Language:English
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:missions
doctors
health care
1960-1969
1970-1979
Link:https://doi.org/10.1163/18748945-02702002
Abstract:Neo-Foucauldian history maintains that missionary doctors in imperial Africa were agents of Western cultural imperialism. This scholarship projects mission-based healers as agents of imperial power who played a major role in emasculating African therapeutic systems and in reinforcing colonial hegemony. This scholarship partly derives its support from the fact that across Africa, mission doctors and nurses cast themselves as cultural conquistadors whose ultimate goal was no less to undermine local medical culture than to supplant it with biomedical comprehensions of disease, healing and medicine. Convincing as this scholarship may be, it over-simplistically locks Christian medical missions in a distant, static past, erroneously portraying them as monolithic entities, and largely obscuring how missionary discourses and praxis surrounding disease and medicine metamorphosed in the aftermath of colonialism. This paper may be read as a corrective to such scholarship. The paper insists that, in conformity with the expectations and demands of the post-colonial regime in Zambia, Catholic medics reconfigured their medical discourse and practice. Consequently, their medicine lost its imperial and hegemonic pretensions and became an agency through which the newly-independent Zambian state implemented its public health policies, expanded public healthcare, trained local medical personnel, and, ultimately, 'Zambianized' the health sector. As agents of the Zambian states they even lost their religious flavour. Notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract, edited]
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