The IOWC is looking for papers that address any aspect of medicine in the region of the Indian Ocean, including Northeast, East and South Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean islands, South, Southeast, and East Asia, in any historical period. The aim of the conference is to interrogate the concept of the Indian Ocean as a ‘world’ using the exchange of medical goods, texts, instruments and ideas as a lens through which to examine how far the region may be regarded as a cultural entity. As well as being an article of trade, medicine is associated with religious, spiritual, and cultural ideas about the body and its relation to the environment. These ideas both govern the acceptance, modification, or rejection of medicines and medical ideas and are altered by them. Medical exchanges can thus be used to provide a cultural perspective on historical events and trends such as the spread of Islam and other faiths, the movement of migrant and diaspora communities, free and enslaved, and the rise and fall of empires in the region. The conference being multidisciplinary, papers from geography, sociology, anthropology and area studies as well as the history of medicine and science are welcome.
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