AFR 304
A History of Health and Healing in Africa
Last Offered Spring 2022
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed HIST 305 / GBST 305
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

This class will explore the history of health and healing in Africa, with emphasis on the colonial and post-colonial eras. During the semester we will explore diverse medical and social interventions in African health over the past 150 years. How have African societies understood healthy communities and public health? We will examine this question through the study of spirit possession and other African healing practices but also how they have intersected with different biomedical practices and public health programs. We will also study the patterns and social impacts of new diseases in the twentieth century, as well as transformations in the understanding and treatment of diseases long present on the continent. In particular we will explore shifting understandings of the causes, treatment, and social implications of sleeping sickness, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The development of colonial rule, shifting environmental conditions, changing diets, and urbanization all impacted the disease landscape, as well as the way African societies have understood public health. Indeed, the themes of health, medicine and disease provide a useful lens for understanding important social transformations across the continent.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3660
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation in discussion, map quiz, reading reflections, a primary source analysis paper (3-5 pages), presentation, and one research paper (8-12 pages).
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: if course is over-enrolled, preference to history majors and students with a demonstrated interest in African studies
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST 305 Division II GBST 305 Division II AFR 304 Division II
DPE Notes: This course explores transformations in how Africans in the recent past have experienced, practiced and conceptualized health and healing. These transformations have been triggered by the expansion of global biomedicine, new and lethal epidemics, old diseases in changing environments, and new political and economic decisions by policymakers. The history of health and healing in Africa provides a critical lens through which to examine societal imbalances and and inequalities.
Attributes: AFR Core Electives
GBST African Studies
HIST Group A Electives - Africa

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