African Medical Pluralism

African Medical Pluralism

Edited by William C Olsen and Carolyn Sargent
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/27/2017
Format: Paperback 7 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-02491-6
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In most places on the African continent, multiple health care options exist and patients draw on a therapeutic continuum that ranges from traditional medicine and religious healing to the latest in biomedical technology. The ethnographically based essays in this volume highlight African ways of perceiving sickness, making sense of and treating suffering, and thinking about health care to reveal the range and practice of everyday medicine in Africa through historical, political, and economic contexts.

Author Bio

Carolyn Sargent is Professor of Anthropology and Affiliated Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author of Maternity, Medicine, and Power.

William C. Olsen lectures in the African Studies Program at Georgetown University. He is editor (with Walter E. A. van Beek) of Evil in Africa: Encounters with the Everyday (IUP).


“This volume covers much ground and gives a good orientation to readers who are totally new to the concept of medical pluralism and the range of healing modalities in Africa. I predict this book will be used widely in courses in anthropology, medical anthropology, African studies, and global health.”
 — Paul Brodwin, author of Everyday Ethics: Voices from the Front Line of Community Psychiatry

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Table of Contents

Introduction by William C. Olsen and Carolyn Sargent
Biomedicine and African Healing:
1. Stacey Langwick: "The Value of Secrets: Pragmatic Healers and Proprietary Knowledge"
2. William C. Olsen: "Body and Sunsum: Stroke in Asante"
3. Susan J. Rasmussen: "Spirits and Pills Who Are Against Children: Medico-Rituals and Assisted Reproductive Technologies in a Tuareg Couple’s Quest for Parenthood"
4. John M. Janzen: "Science in the Moral Space of Health and Healing Paradigms in Western Equatorial Africa"
5. Brooke Grundfest Schoepf: "Medical Pluralism Revisted: A Memoir"
Symptoms and Therapeutic Pluralities:
6. Ulrika Trovalla: "Wishful Doing: Journeying in a Nigerian Medical Landscape"
7. Koen Stroeken: "The Individualization of Illness: Bewitchment and the Mental in Postcolonial Tanzania"
8. Christopher C. Taylor: "Ihahamuka—PTSD in Postgenocidal Rwanda: Culture, Continuity and Change in Rwandan Therapeutics"
Hospital Ethnography:
9. Elisha Renne: "Ear Infections, Malnutrition, and Circuitous Health Care Treatments in Zaria, Nigeria"
10. Benson A. Mulemi: "Therapeutic Eclecticism and Cancer Care in a Kenyan Hospital Ward"
11.Carolyn Sargent and James Leslie Kennell: "Elusive Paths, Fluid Care: Seeking Healing and Protection in the Republic of Benin"
12. Claire Wendland: "Legitimate Care, Dangerous Care, and Childbirth in an Urban African Community"
Afterword by Arthur Kleinman

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