Nancy Rose Hunt is Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has been a Fellow in Residence at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study.
Her research focuses on the history of Africa, especially questions of historiography, gender and medicine. Her ethnographic history of childbirth, medicine, objects and mobility in Congo-Kinshasa, A Colonial Lexicon: Of Birth Work, Medicalization and Mobility in the Congo (Duke University Press, 1999) received the Melville J. Herskovits Award. Her latest book, A Nervous State: Violence, Remedies and Reverie in Colonial Congo (Duke University Press, forthcoming) deals with the “nervousness” of the Belgian colonial state, both as a disease phenomenon and as a sign of racial tensions, as well as insurrectional healing movements.
Nancy Rose Hunt is currently preparing two books on the history of medicine.
Programme EURIAS à l’IEA de Paris
Health, global, zone and milieu are the concepts that I will focus on during my stay at Paris IAS. I will be carrying out two projects: a condensed essay on a global history of medicine, and a new research project on humours and psychiatry in Africa.
A global history of health: I will develop a long history of health, from the era of the first hunter-gatherers to our era, populated with digital gleaners and “bare life”. Variations of scale between global history and microhistory nodes will contribute to my investigation of the concept of zone and milieu.
Secondly, my research focuses on The Zones of Mental Health: An African Genealogy. Since 1989, a powerful global mental health movement has emerged, as both a movement and an industry. This movement is recent and continues to move forward in Africa, in shantytowns and gated communities, and is producing a growing number of clinical trials. An often neglected issue will have crucial importance: the influence of the European metropolis and its sensibilities on colonial psychiatric practices. This project – which merges a summary work, archival research and ethnography, along with a systematic aspect – aims to pick out major trends, while casting light on the texture inherent to colonial madness.