[URBANTH-L]CFP: The Politics of Epidemics in Africa (Ghana)

jancius at ohio.edu jancius at ohio.edu
Tue Aug 19 03:02:42 EDT 2008

Call for Papers: 
The Politics of Epidemics in Africa

Accra, Ghana
Abstract deadline: September 1, 2008

Organizers Historical Association of Ghana Department of History, University of

The two-day conference will take place in Accra on November 17 and 18, 2008 to
coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of the bubonic plague epidemic in
Ghana (then the Gold Coast). This conference will use the occasion to discuss
epidemic disease in general and increase dialogue between academics,
policymakers, and the general public regarding epidemic preparedness and policy.
Understanding why certain epidemics receive more attention and resources than
other epidemics requires an investigation of the politics of disease control.
Experts from various fields, including public health and health policy, medical
anthropology, history of medicine, and others, are encouraged to submit papers.
Papers may concentrate on one or more epidemics, historical or contemporary, in
Africa on the following or related themes:

• The impact of epidemics on urban space, population distribution, or migration
• Public perceptions of epidemics • Traditional perceptions of epidemics and how
they have changed over time • Representations of epidemics in art, mass media,
song, or other cultural expression • The role of health delivery systems and/or
traditional healers • Relationships between communities, local leaders, national
and international officials • Conflict resolution during epidemics • Religious

This conference encourages participants to consider the politics of epidemics,
historical and contemporary, in Africa from a variety of angles. What impact do
public health measures, such as quarantine and vaccination, have on public
perceptions of the government? How do disease control efforts affect local
political struggles for power, resources, and legitimacy? Is resistance to
public health measures tied to broader political discontent? How do different
epidemics affect the “balance of power” between traditional healers and medical
doctors? What are traditional understandings of epidemics and how have they
changed over time? Which diseases attract the most attention and resources and
why? How can public health officials more effectively make use of the political
process to plan for and prevent epidemics?

Please send a 300-word abstract to Laura J. McGough by September 1, 2008 to
mcgoughlj at msn.com along with contact information.

Presenters whose papers are accepted will be notified by September 15, 2008.
Laura McGough
Dept. of History
University of Ghana
PO Box 12
Legon, Ghana

Email: mcgoughlj at msn.com

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