CFP: Memorials and remains of science in Africa: Traces of progress, nostalgia and amnesia

110th Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association
November 16-20, 2011, Montreal, Canada

Panel:  Memorials and remains of science in Africa: Traces of
progress, nostalgia and amnesia

In the layout of colonial agronomic field stations or the architecture
of national university laboratories, in doctors’ tropical memoirs and
ongoing demographic surveillance; the pasts of African science and
medicine partially penetrate its current locations, practice and
experiences. Sequential periodisations of its models and
modalities–from colonial to post-colonial, extractive to
developmental, nationalist to neoliberal—fail to describe how pasts
are preserved, reactivated, buried or neglected to redefine the
possibilities of science and medicine in/for Africa.

This panel explores the ways in which African medicine and science
generate memories; how these memories of research and care carry or
cast away political, ethical, aesthetic, epistemological and affective
value. We invite papers that explicitly combine historical and
ethnographic methods to address processes of coexistence,
interpenetration, layering and displacement of pasts and futures in
various sites such as buildings, bodies, archives, landscapes and

By bringing together diverse papers on this topic, the panel will
provide an opportunity to reflect on its comparative potential; to
explore differential capacities to generate, interpret and use
memories of medicine and science. How do different kinds of scientific
and medical practice generate traces; and what gives these traces more
or less weight, clarity, function and purpose over time? Have certain
periods left deeper traces than others, and what does this mean for
experiences of loss and possibility? How can memory-focused
methodologies highlight contrasts and similarities in experience
across African settings?

Please submit a 250 word abstract to: or
by March 25th 2011.

Research Fellow
Anthropologies of African Biosciences

Dept. Global Health and Development
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
15-17 Tavistock Place
London WC1H 9SH
P:020 7927 2770
F:020 7637 5391

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