Imperialism Under the Microscope: an interdisciplinary essay collection
Call for Papers Date:
Call for Papers:
Imperialism Under the Microscope: Disease, Medicine, and the (Neo)Colonial Gaze
– an interdisciplinary essay collection
This call is aimed at scholars in humanities, social sciences, health sciences and history of science with an interest in the impact of colonialism and globalization on public health discourses and practices:
Among the many imports which accompanied early colonizers to the territories they conquered was a range of epidemic diseases, most strikingly smallpox, which decimated native communities that had never been exposed to the disease and therefore had no immunity to it. Yet, despite the direction in which contagions actually flowed, the imperial gaze soon began to fix itself with terror on the native body as the originary source of infection and corruption. This gaze can be traced well beyond the mass decolonizations of the mid-twentieth century, and survives today in the neo-colonial health practices of many western countries with regard to epidemic disease, especially HIV/AIDS, one of the defining fears of our time.
This collection seeks to trace the flows both of contagions and cultural formulations between the West and non-West from the advent of colonialism to the present day. Contributions are invited which explore the links between colonial and neo-colonial discursive formations, literary and artistic representations, medical practices, and macro-scale public health policies, ranging in historical focus from initial colonial contact to contemporary settings. Especially welcome are contributions that consider colonial and neo-colonial approaches to epidemic disease with reference to one or more of the following contexts:
(a) smallpox epidemics in early colonial contact zones;
(b) malaria in colonially administered territories in the age of high imperialism
(c) contemporary First-World responses to HIV/AIDS as a “Third World” disease.
Papers which address the relationships between (neo-) colonial discourses and health practices in a more general or theoretical context are also encouraged.
Contributors are invited to consider especially the role of metaphor in each of these settings, examining the ways in which disease is conceptualized in metaphorical terms, and the way disease itself functions in turn as a socio-cultural metaphor (i.e. a reflection of a malaise) leading to its becoming a powerful ideological signifier. Through a consideration of the ways in which metaphorical and ideological discourses shape actual policy and practice, it is hoped that such constructions will form a central recurring theme uniting disparate interdisciplinary perspectives.
In the first instance, potential contributors should submit an abstract (approx. 500 words) and one-page CV via Email, by October 31st, 2008. Notification of acceptance will be provided after this date. Final papers, due March 31st, 2009, should be between 5000 and 7000 words in length.
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