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Universalism in Context

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Using the neurological syndrome kuru as a frame, Warwick Anderson examines the social dynamics and material culture of its medical investigation among the Fore people conducted by D. Carleton Gajdusek beginning at midcentury. The Collectors of Lost Souls: Turning Kuru Scientists into White Men uses a postcolonial framework to complicate dominant/subordinate binaries and diffusionist accounts of indigenous contacts with medical science. Anderson proposes that colonies are specific sites of production of medical knowledge. He draws a distinction between traditional and advanced economies in regard to individual rights to make an argument in support of context-specific ethical regulation for medical research and suggests a role for historians of science in interrogating the process of globalisation.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, USA

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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