128. Anti-Colonial Medicine

Gabrielle Robbins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dina M. Asfaha, University of Pennsylvania;

Biomedicine's deep ties to Euro-American imperialism are well-documented. Extensive studies clarify how biomedicine was and is deployed in violent processes of racial differentiation and subjugation; in unequal domestic and international relations that mediate access to healing care and resources; and in operant regimes of financialized accumulation which create 'zones of abandonment' with deep stratifications between who lives and who dies. But biomedicine is also wielded against such enduring oppressions, by populations resisting colonial, neo-colonial, and/or corporate control. Frontline personnel treat liberation fighters in Eritrea, Syria, and Ukraine. Open-source engineers build medical devices more sensitive to melanated skin. Countries of the Global South oppose intellectual property regimes to establish new drug industries for equitable access. Inspired by these and other efforts, this panel solicits papers or presentations on medicine's intersections with anti-colonial or liberatory struggle. How can (and are) medical knowledge, practices, infrastructures, and/or industries be tools of freedom and solidarity? How does healing for sovereignty creatively engage or remake relations between bodies, ecologies, and socio-political systems? How can focus on medicine as a vehicle for anti-coloniality enrich understandings of medicine's relationship to power? Ultimately this panel aims to bring together thinkers on medicine as liberatory potential and practice in profoundly uncertain times.

Contact: glmr@mit.edu, dasfaha@sas.upenn.edu

Keywords: Medicine and Healthcare, Decolonial and Postcolonial STS, Race/Black Studies and STS

Published: 04/07/2023