How do medical theories and healing technologies circulate in colonial contexts? Anna Afanasyeva’s lecture investigates the history of nineteenth-century Russian medical initiatives in one of the imperial regions, the Kazakh steppe, and explores medicine as both a cultural institution and an integral part of the imperial project.
The lecture looks at the history of nineteenth-century Russian medical initiatives in one of the imperial regions - the Kazakh steppe, and explores medicine as a cultural institution and as an integral part of imperial project. Although the firm establishment of Russian medicine in the steppe was still a long way off in the imperial era, it was in the nineteenth century that the foundations of the biomedical organization were laid in the steppe and the advance of Western medicine was set in motion. This transition of medical knowledge from imperial core to the periphery within the Russian Empire corresponded with the global spread of Western medicine in colonial era. The case of Russia is of particular interest here as the medical knowledge and practices that Russian doctors employed on the imperial borders had themselves been a recent importation from the West. This lecture discusses the ways Russian (as “Western”) and Kazakh (indigenous) medical traditions and systems of knowledge came into contact, developed and affected each other throughout the imperial era.