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College of Science Lecture Series
Slavery, Medicine & Power: Smallpox Inoculation from Precolonial Africa to Colonial Boston

Monday, October 18, 4-5 p.m.

Rachael Hill, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History
Cal Poly Pomona

The history of smallpox inoculation in sub-Saharan Africa and its transfer to the broader Atlantic world reveals the relationship between power and medical knowledge which may contain some important lessons for our current pandemic. Furthermore, African contributions to our understanding of disease processes and immunity via the introduction of inoculation methods remains understudied or unacknowledged, calling attention to the ongoing need to take Africa seriously as a site of technological innovation.

About Rachael Hill:
I am a historian of Africa whose research focuses on twentieth-century histories of health, science, and medicine. My research lies at the intersection of scholarship on healing in Africa and the field of science and technology studies in the global south. My dissertation “Scientists, Healers and Bioprospectors: the Politics of Therapeutic Knowledge in Ethiopia, 1945-1990” investigates local efforts to study, develop and regulate traditional medicine in Ethiopia. I combined ethnographic techniques with an analysis of archival material from the Ministry of Health in order to situate Ethiopia in both its local and global contexts and understand why “traditional medicine” became a national priority when it did.

Oct 18, 2021 04:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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