Centre for Global Health Histories lecture
Congo’s Equateur underwent terrible violence in the 1890s and 1900s. From the 1930s, the same region attracted scientific research regarding high rates of sterility. In this lecture, Professor Hunt will show why it is useful for medical historians to rethink the Belgian colonial state as not only biopolitical but nervous in nature. Its medicalizing face investigated the birth rate, rolled out penicillin, and founded an infertility clinic. Its nervous face tracked the security risks posed by Congolese healers and other therapeutic rebels. The imaginative practices of vernacular therapeutics suggests that colonial harm was never total, while nervousness was also part of expulsive, healing idioms. The relevance of this history for global health today will also be suggested.
Other lectures from the Centre for Global Health Histories include:
- The many births of the test-tube baby
- World hunger and the healthy animal: The veterinary solution to the post-war food crisis