Until now our knowledge of African health and healing has been extensive but fragmented. Here in eighteen essays is the first comprehensive account of disease, health,and healing practices in the African continent. The contributors all emphasize the social conditions linked to ill health and the development of local healing traditions, from Morocco to South Africa and from the precolonial era to the present. Several chapters illustrate how the most basic facts of everyday life encourage the spread of disease and chape the possibilities of survival. Other discuss a variety of healing practices: drums of affliction in Bantu-speaking societies, Muslim humoral medicine, and biomedicine as practiced in hospitals and dispensaries. The editors provide introductory overviews explaining why and how health and disease are related to historical, economic, and political phenomena.
Steven Feierman is Professor of History at the University of Florida. His most recent book is Peasant Intellectuals (Wisconsin 1990). John M. Janzen is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kansas. He won the Wellcome prize and the medal of the Royal Anthropological Institue for The Quest for Therapy in Lower Zaire (California 1978).
"The contributors to this book share a conceptual framework in which the socio-economic factors are clearly connected with onset and development of diseases in population. . . .But there is more: for the first time, authors . . . approach consistently the problem of the historical development of pathology."--Gilles Bibeau, Universite de Montreal