New Horizons in Medical Anthropology: Essays in Honour of Charles Leslie

New Horizons in Medical Anthropology: Essays in Honour of Charles Leslie

New Horizons in Medical Anthropology: Essays in Honour of Charles Leslie

New Horizons in Medical Anthropology: Essays in Honour of Charles Leslie

Synopsis

i New Horizons in Medical Anthropology /i is a cutting edge volume in honor of Charles Leslie, a highly respected medical anthropologist whose influential career has shaped this branch of anthropology as it is studied and theorized today. Written by former students and colleagues of Charles Leslie, this collection of papers deals with issues as diverse as AIDS and new medical technologies, therapy management and overpopulation, with case studies from Africa and Asia.

Excerpt

From documenting medical pluralism to critical interpretations of globalized health knowledge, policies, and practices

Margaret Lock and Mark Nichter

Medical anthropology has a history that covers nearly four decades. Although Charles Leslie's career is much longer, this volume is devoted almost exclusively to recognition of his unsurpassed contribution to medical anthropology from the time of its formal inception in the late 1960s to the present day. The authors represented in this volume, three generations of social scientists, one or two themselves close to retirement, all acknowledge a debt to Charles for intellectual stimulation through interactions with him and reflections on his writings on Asian medical traditions. He has frequently influenced the course of our professional lives, facilitated many of our publications, and provided forums in various locations for an exchange of ideas, most of which have become central to medical anthropology.

Considering the range of age and experience of the authors, one might expect to find quite dramatic differences in the perspectives taken in these chapters. But a critical, and in some cases, activist approach to the subject matter unites them, one in which a sensitivity is evident to both globalized political and economic issues as well as to a situated meaning-centered approach to ethnography. Above all, everyone is alert to global pluralism in medical knowledge and practice, a lesson first disseminated by Charles Leslie many years ago and one that has proved to be indelibly robust.

Toward a comparative study of medical traditions

The obvious place to start when tracing Charles Leslie's contribution to medical anthropology is with the symposium funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation and held in 1971 at the gothic castle in Burg Wartenstein in Austria that the Foundation kept at that time for such gatherings. Out of that conference came the now classic Asian Medical Systems: A Comparative Study published in 1976 by the University of California Press. In the introduction Charles set out the project that would occupy him for many years and become a source of inspiration for numerous others. This

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