CFP: Sites of Desire: Medicine, Race, Gender and Sexuality in Colonial India and Sub-Saharan Africa


While the history of medicine, generally, has been a major focus of historical scholarship in recent years, notions of race and racial purity, gender and sexuality in comparative studies have not received much attention. Medical ideologies and their relationship with race, and gender constructions, hegemony and resistance now call for detailed analyses of these. The primary aim of the edited volume is to bring together a cross section of scholars from multiple disciplines (in the sciences, humanities and the social sciences) and from two regions of the former British empire on the notions of race, gender and sexuality as a necessary apparatus of the “imperial project.” Examining these in comparative and global historical perspectives, the volume will unravel colonial manifestations, discourses and the political trajectories of the ways women and men were perceived, understood, and accommodated in colonial notions of racial, gender and medical paradigms.

The volume will also focus on the “body” and biomedicine as sites that enabled colonial contacts and reinterpretation of socio-cultural issues as well as the strategies that managed parallel notions of race, medicine, gender and sexuality within the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan African colonies.

With a recent and increasing interest in understanding issues ranging from demography, scientific research, social control, surveillance, and even punishment; it is believed that intimate encounters such as medicalization, desire and pleasurable, were not simply side-effects of colonial projects but were fundamental structures of colonization. Scholars of the Indian sub-continent and sub-Saharan Africa seem to be working in isolation of each other without a much-needed dialogue between them on these significant topics. The comparative approach in this volume will, thus, enable a better understanding of the constructions of race, gender, and human sexualities within the medical paradigm under global imperialism. In sum, this scholarship will further provide theoretical and comparative perspectives to articulate the myriad means by which race, gender and sexualities were intimately tied to the imperial project.

Call for papers

Proposed chapters are invited on the following themes (but not limited to these): Race and colonialism, gendered constructions of health, medicine and health care, notions of sexuality and colonial constructions, nationalism and colonial interventions, religion and spirituality, marriage and reproduction, medicalization, freedom and desires, prohibitions, cultures and sub-cultures, colonial institutions, body and space.

Authors interested in proposing a chapter should email (to an abstract (350-400 words), a brief bio (including current affiliation(s), publications and contact email and postal addresses) by 31 May 2014.

Decision on accepted abstracts will be communicated by 15 June 2014 with full chapters expected by 15 October 2014.

Poonam Bala, Visiting Scholar, Department of Sociology, Cleveland State University, Ohio


Nakanyike Musisi, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto, Ontario


Deadline: May 31, 2014

Posted: April 22, 2014