1st Edition

Social Aspects of Health, Medicine and Disease in the Colonial and Post-colonial Era

    262 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    From the 1600s, enslaved people, and after abolition of slavery, indentured labourers were transported to work on plantations in distant European colonies. Inhuman conditions and new pathogens often resulted in disease and death. Central to this book is the encounter between introduced and local understanding of disease and the therapeutic responses in the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific contexts.

    European response to diseases, focussed on protecting the white minority. Enslaved labourers from Africa and indentured labourers from India, China and Java provided interpretations and answers to health challenges based on their own cultures and medicinal understanding of the plants they had brought with them or which they found in the natural habitat of their new homes. Colonizers, enslaved and indentured labourers learned from each other and from the indigenous peoples who were marginalized by the expansion of plantations. This volume explores the medical, cultural and personal implications of these encounters, with the broad concept of medical pluralism linking the diversity of regional and cultural focus offered in each chapter.


    Please note: Taylor & Francis does not sell or distribute the Hardback in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

    Introduction  Part 1: Cultural Encounters, Pluralism and Health Care  1. ‘Colonial Care’: Health and Healing for Indentured  Migrants during the Journey from India to the  Sugar Colonies 1830-1920  2. Conversion of Maroons to Christianity, an Important  Tool towards Allopathic Health Care on the Upper  Suriname River (1760-1960) 3. Revisiting F.A. Kuhn’s ‘Reflection on the Situation of the Surinamese Plantation Slaves: An Economic-medical  Contribution to its Improvement (1828)’ Part 2: Pluralism and Ethno-Health Practices  4. Seeking Health in Multiple Ways: Self-Medication  and Medical Pluralism among Patients with  Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, and Saramacca and  Aucan Maroons in Suriname 5. The Use of Medicinal Plants in Suriname: The Ethnopharmacological Legacy of Slavery  and Indentured Labour 6. Health Knowledge of Former Days in a New Era Part 3: Leprosy in Plural Contexts  7. Leprosy and Forced labour: Fears and Responses of  the Colonial Regime in Suriname 8. Disability, Leprosy, and Plantation Health among  Indian Indentured Labourers in Fiji, 1879-1911 9. Leprosy, a Multidimensional Approach:  Colonialism, Slavery, Indentured Labour  and Animal Mythology in Suriname


    Henk Menke is a dermatologist (retired) and medical historian. He is guest researcher at the Freudenthal Institute (Utrecht University, The Netherlands), and is currently involved in multidisciplinary leprosy research.

    Jane Buckingham is Associate Professor of History at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Her research interests include the history of medicine, health, civil and criminal law and disability.

    Farzana Gounder is a linguist and Deputy Head of School (Research) at IPU New Zealand Tertiary Institute. Her current research lies at the intersection of indenture studies and the sociology of health.

    Ashutosh Kumar is a historian who has published on Indian indenture, including health and diet on the indenture journey. Currently, he is a fellow at Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, New Delhi.

    Maurits S. Hassankhan is a historian and senior lecturer/researcher at the Anton de Kom University, Suriname. He has organized several international conferences on slavery and indentured labour and diaspora.