The goal of the conference is to gather scholars from various countries and disciplines (e. g. history of medicine, general history, medical anthropology, medical geography and public health) for a joint analysis of the questions raised by the concept of “ethnic pathology”, developed by the German-Peruvian pathologist and social hygienist Max Kuczynski (Berlin, 1890 – Lima, 1967). Designed as a means to grasp social and cultural as well as physical and biological aspects of disease, the “ethnic pathology” approach raises important questions about the theoretical and methodological responses to the challenges for health care and research especially in rural and indigenous populations. Rooted in different medical traditions and scientific currents of late 19 th and early 20 th century (like medical geography, social medicine, bacteriology and hygiene, as well as pathology, social and cultural anthropology), the “ethnic pathology”-approach will be taken as starting point for a broad examination of the development, transnational extension and local adaptation of social medicine, hygiene and related fields in the first half of the 20 th century. Further, the remarkable international dimension of Kuczynski’s research activities in Europe, Central Asia and Latin America will lead to a comparative perspective in an explicitly “global” scale, with special emphasis on the “periphery” of the industrialized world.
A specific aim of the conference is to give space for an interdisciplinary and multinational dialogue about medical approaches to social and ethnic diversity. Based on historical insights about the origins and the constraints of particular disciplines and methodologies in different historical and cultural contexts, it will be possible to re-evaluate current challenges and to develop creative responses to health problems in the “globalized” world of today.
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