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CSS Colloquium: Bogdan Iacob, Institute of History (Bucharest) of the Romanian Academy

Medical Modernity across Peripheries: Eastern Europe, Global Health and the Cold War

22.09.2020 | Randi Mosegaard

Dato ons 25 nov
Tid 14:15 15:45
Sted 1532-122 (Aud G2)

Abstract

The presentation explores the globalization of health politics during the Cold War by analysing medical entanglements between European state socialisms and post-colonial countries. The lecture will discuss the impact of exchanges between East and South, peripheries of the world system, on postwar international designs of humanity's welfare. Eastern European experts’ engagements in Asia and Africa or at the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal cross-fertilizations and competition among multiple modernities (post-imperial, socialist, post-colonial, or capitalist) with diverse visions about liberation from disease, statehood, development, solidarity, and human rights.

State socialism’s global reach forged an unprecedented range of contacts with the developing world, whose efforts to decolonize medical practices helped to shape the WHO’s agenda. Eastern Europeans lambasted the West’s assumptions of its racial and civilizational superiority over formerly subject peoples. Nonetheless, the socialist camp developed its own Eurocentric hierarchical conception of the world, which by the end of the Cold War reflected a surprising East-West convergence. The presentation insists on the integration of Eastern Europe into global histories of health, which is long overdue. Such de-centering of our perceptions about medical modernity during the Cold War has contemporary importance. Eastern Europe has once again become a space for competing designs of health governance during the COVID pandemic.

Bio: Bogdan C. Iacob is a researcher at the Institute of History (Bucharest) of the Romanian Academy. Until September 30, he was AIAS-COFUND Fellow. His work centres on the study of Eastern European expert knowledge (e.g., historians or doctors) in global contexts during the twentieth century. He co-authored the monograph 1989. A Global History of Eastern Europe (Cambridge UP, 2019) and edited the special issue “Socialist Experts in Transnational Perspective” for the journal East Central Europe (2018).

Coffee, tea, cakes and fruit will be served before the colloquium @ 2 pm.

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