Medicine, mobility and the empire

Nyasaland networks, 1859–1960

By Markku Hokkanen

Medicine, mobility and the empire
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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9146-3
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: RRP £80.00, NOW £16.00
  • Published Date: October 2017
  • BIC Category: MEDICAL / History, HISTORY / Africa / Central, History of medicine, Colonialism & imperialism, Central Africa, African history, History, Africa, Medicine / History of medicine, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


David Livingstone's Zambesi expedition marked the beginning of an ongoing series of medical exchanges between the British and Malawians. This book explores these entangled histories by placing medicine in the frameworks of mobilities and networks that extended across Southern Africa and beyond. It provides a new approach to the study of medicine and empire. Drawing on a range of written and oral sources, the book argues that mobility was a crucial aspect of intertwined medical cultures that shared a search for therapy in changing conditions. Mobile individuals, ideas and materials played key roles in medical networks that involved both professionals and laypeople. These networks connected colonial medicine with Protestant Christianity and migrant labour. The book will be of value to scholars and students of history and anthropology of colonialism and medicine, as well as a wider readership interested in the plural search for health in Africa and globally.


Markku Hokkanen is Lecturer in History at the University of Oulu


Introduction: medicine, mobility and the empire
1 Mobilities, medicine and health in the Malawi region: networks of empire, missions and labour, c.1859-c.1960
2 Laypeople, professionals and the 'Livingstone tradition': assessing European health, spaces and mobilities in South-Central Africa, c.1859-c.1940
3 Spiritual and secular medicine in Malawian-British Protestant mission networks, c.1859-c.1940
4 Knowledge, secrecy and contestation: early medical encounters, c.1859-c.1930
5 African medical middles and migrant doctors, c.1890-c.1960
6 Quinine, malarial fevers and mobility: a biography of a 'European fetish', c.1859-c.1940
7 Colonising African medicines? Central African medicines and poisons and knowledge-making in the empire, c1859-c.1940
Epilogue: mobilities, networks and the making of colonial medical culture

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