Appel à communication: Histories of Medicine in the Indian Ocean World

Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC),McGill University, Montreal, Canada
26-27 April 2013

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. [English and French]

Ed. note: Added material from website:


Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to:

- Circulation and translation of medical texts
- Transfer of medical techniques and healing practises
- Adoption and adaptations of medical theories and practises
- Spirit possession & modern medicine
- Humoral theory
- Theories of contagion
- Transplantation of medicinal plants
- Trade and marketing of plant or animal drugs
- Plantations/ mass production of medical substances
- Use of narcotics in medicine
- Marine materia medica
- Naval medicine
- Veterinary medicine
- Doctors & medical practitioners as agents of diplomacy or
- Trade or exchanges of medical instruments/ medicine containers
- Decoration and symbolism of medical instruments/ medicine containers
- Medical imagery/ illustrations
- Medical practises of migrant and diaspora communities
- The history of hospitals/ clinics/ dispensaries
- Medical missions
- Shrines as centres for healing
- International organisations focused on health care provision in the
- Politics of healthcare

Anna Winterbottom
Peterson Hall
3460 McTavish Street, Room 100
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 0E6
Tel: 514.398.6204
Visit the website at

Camille Rhoné

Agrégée d'histoire, titulaire d'une thèse de doctorat en histoire de l'Islam médiéval ("Défendre le territoire en Iran nord-oriental - Khorassan et Transoxiane -, IXe-XIe siècle"), Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

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