Weedy Science: Cultures of Herbal Medicine Research in Ghana


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Presenter: 
Damien Droney
Date and Time: 
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 12:00pm
Location: 

Department of Anthropology
Main Quad - Building 50
Room 51A (Colloquium Room)

Abstract: 

This talk provides an overview of my dissertation research, which describes the vocation of science as seen from the perspective of Ghanaian herbal medicine research. In recent decades, a vibrant herbal medicine industry has emerged in Ghana, attended by researchers ranging from formal professionals to self-styled scientists. Based on 20 months of ethnographic research, I identified four groups of people, each of whom had a different understanding of what it means to be a scientist. I explain this situation through a historical analysis of herbal medicine science in Ghana since the colonial period: The vocation of science in postcolonial Africa is shaped by its representation during the colonial and independence periods, when it was seen as a symbol of modernization and as a means toward achieving global equality.

Bio: 

Damien Droney's research is concerned with the science of herbal medicine and the subsequent growth of “neoherbalism” in Ghana. More broadly, I am interested in medical regulation and popular engagements with science in West Africa.

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