Event Title

The Birth of a Colonial Clinic: Medical Colonization in Dakar

Location

King Building 101

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2019 7:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2019 8:00 PM

Abstract

This project explores France’s use of medicine and medical institutions as colonizing forces in Dakar, Senegal and how these efforts have affected the city’s present-day medical sector. I examine four techniques of colonization as the backdrop of my studies: delegitimization, pacification, militarization, and exploitation. Focusing on Dakar’s two main hospitals, one originally reserved for Europeans and the other for “indigènes,” I examine the medical and sociological history of these two institutions and their role in French efforts towards the formation of the “ideal” colony. I further analyze the origins of and responses to major diseases that ravaged the Senegambia region during the years of colonization. These diseases include cholera (referred to as the “Black man’s disease”) and yellow fever (referred to as the “white man’s disease”). The devastation brought about during the yellow fever epidemics and the disease’s particular prevalence among European communities inspired French biologists to adopt a major role in the global efforts towards a yellow fever vaccine. These health institutions and reactions to health crises provide insight into the present-day role of Western medicine in the nation and the attitudes surrounding these forces that began during the period of colonization.

Keywords:

Francophone studies, Medical history, Colonization, West Africa, Senegal

Notes

Session VIII, Panel 24 - Public | Health

Moderator: Matthew Senior, Chair of the Department of French & Italian and Ruberta T. McCandless, Professor of French

Major

French

Advisor(s)

Matthew Senior, French

Project Mentor(s)

Matthew Senior, French

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Apr 27th, 7:00 PM Apr 27th, 8:00 PM

The Birth of a Colonial Clinic: Medical Colonization in Dakar

King Building 101

This project explores France’s use of medicine and medical institutions as colonizing forces in Dakar, Senegal and how these efforts have affected the city’s present-day medical sector. I examine four techniques of colonization as the backdrop of my studies: delegitimization, pacification, militarization, and exploitation. Focusing on Dakar’s two main hospitals, one originally reserved for Europeans and the other for “indigènes,” I examine the medical and sociological history of these two institutions and their role in French efforts towards the formation of the “ideal” colony. I further analyze the origins of and responses to major diseases that ravaged the Senegambia region during the years of colonization. These diseases include cholera (referred to as the “Black man’s disease”) and yellow fever (referred to as the “white man’s disease”). The devastation brought about during the yellow fever epidemics and the disease’s particular prevalence among European communities inspired French biologists to adopt a major role in the global efforts towards a yellow fever vaccine. These health institutions and reactions to health crises provide insight into the present-day role of Western medicine in the nation and the attitudes surrounding these forces that began during the period of colonization.