CFP: [Science] Imperialism Under the Microscope: Disease, Medicine, and the (Neo)Colonial Gaze

full name / name of organization: 
Richard Brock
contact email:

Imperialism Under the Microscope: Disease, Medicine, and the (Neo)
Colonial Gaze
– an interdisciplinary essay collection

Among the many imports which accompanied early colonizers to the
territories they conquered was a range of epidemic diseases, most
strikingly smallpox, which decimated native communities that had never
been exposed to the disease and therefore had no immunity to it. Yet,
despite the direction in which contagions actually flowed, the imperial
gaze soon began to fix itself with terror on the native body as the
originary source of infection and corruption. This gaze can be traced
well beyond the mass decolonizations of the mid-twentieth century, and
survives today in the neo-colonial health practices of many western
countries with regard to epidemic disease, especially HIV/AIDS, one of
the defining fears of our time.

This collection seeks to trace the flows both of contagions and cultural
formulations between the West and non-West from the advent of colonialism
to the present day. Contributions are invited which explore the links
between colonial and neo-colonial discursive formations, literary and
artistic representations, medical practices, and macro-scale public
health policies, ranging in historical focus from initial colonial
contact to contemporary settings. Especially welcome are contributions
that consider colonial and neo-colonial approaches to epidemic disease
with reference to one or more of the following contexts:

(a) smallpox epidemics in early colonial contact zones;

(b) malaria in colonially administered territories in the age of high

(c) contemporary First-World responses to HIV/AIDS as a “Third World”

Papers which address the relationships between (neo-) colonial discourses
and health practices in a more general or theoretical context are also

Contributors are invited to consider especially the role of metaphor in
each of these settings, examining the ways in which disease is
conceptualized in metaphorical terms, and the way disease itself
functions in turn as a socio-cultural metaphor (i.e. a reflection of
a "malaise") leading to its becoming a powerful ideological signifier.
Through a consideration of the ways in which metaphorical and ideological
discourses shape actual policy and practice, it is hoped that such
constructions will form a central recurring theme uniting disparate
interdisciplinary perspectives.

In the first instance, potential contributors should submit an abstract
(approx. 500 words) and one-page CV to, by October
31st, 2008. Notification of acceptance will be provided after this date.
Final papers, due March 31st, 2009, should be between 5000 and 7000 words
in length.

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Fri Jul 25 2008 - 15:18:21 EDT

cfp categories: