Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor; Coordinator, Global Studies Program, Anthropology, Northeastern Illinois University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Indiana University / Bloomington
Bodies of Knowledge: the Social Politics of Healing in Tet Province, Mozambique

My research project will address the social politics of health and healing in Tete Province, Mozambique. I seek to answer the question, "Is traditional medicine effective in treating social discord or does it exacerbate or increase interpersonal strife?'' Some researchers have stressed the reconstructive and integrating role of traditional medicine, particularly in response to war-related trauma; others stress the divisive role that healers can play, particularly through their involvement in state and local politics. The answer to this question is important for understanding the role of traditional medicine in society. It is also crucial for evaluating whether traditional medicine can be usefully directed toward public health problems. In pursuing the answer to my research question, I will follow several lines of questioning in the field: Are traditional medical practices and discourses informed by and/or revealing of social fault lines within the community, along the lines of class, ethnicity, and gender? Are attempts to organize traditional healers into a formal association and to codify traditional medical practices informed by and/or revealing of national politics, specifically the state's awkward position in terms of discourses about the "traditional" and the "modern''? Can researchers and policy makers effectively link traditional and biomedical health care resources in order to improve the population's health? My research approaches traditional medicine as a system for maintaining not only physical and social bodies, but powerful bodies of knowledge as well. Traditional medicine is involved in the management of power, knowledge, and morality.