Responding to Infectious Diseases: Subalternity, Agency, and Ownership (1899 to 2022) (Panel Proposal for Canadian Association of African Studies 2023)

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Responding to Infectious Diseases: Subalternity, Agency, and Ownership (1899 to 2022)

 

(Panel Proposal for Canadian Association of African Studies 2023)

 

Recent studies on infectious diseases such as Covid-19, Ebola, and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Africa have focused on actions from the top (state interventions) while little to no attention is paid to actions from the below. In the main, the subaltern is considered a site of responses, not of actions. This development, which presented the subalterns as an inchoate mass that is devoid of agency and incapable of organization, has skewed our understanding of the interplay of Sense of Ownership (SoO) and Sense of Agency (SoA) and the role of the two in self-preservation. In addition, it erased the voice of the subalterns from history and swept into oblivion the roles of indigenous knowledge and subalterns’ creative but local responses in how nations, especially in Africa, have coped with and escaped from the scourge of infectious diseases such as cholera, smallpox, tuberculosis, Spanish Flu, Asian Flu, SARS, Ebola, Covid-19, and other virulent infectious diseases.

 

This panel, which is a part of the Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS) 2023 seeks to re-write the history of actions and responses to infectious diseases by focusing on actions and responses from below as against state-centric action from the top and, by so doing, re-insert the subalterns back to history.

 

With cases drawn from major epidemics from 1899 to 2022, this panel seeks five to six papers that focus primarily on what indigenous or local, creative measures were taking by ‘ordinary people’ in response to infectious diseases. Responses, as used here, cover local initiatives that served as preventive measures, spread-curtailing measures, indigenous or local curative measures - herbal medicine, spiritual healing, socio-distancing, masking, etc. By focusing on people from the below, the panel aims at rewriting the subalterns back into history.

 

We need 5 to 6 papers to form a panel. If you are interested or have any question(s) about participation at CAAS 2023, email your 250 words abstract, question(s) and concern(s) to BukolaOyeniyi@missouristate.edu

 

Deadline for submission of Abstract is December 10, 2022.

 

Note that the 2023 Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS) conference will hold in Toronto, Canada between May 29 to June 1, 2023.

 

Bukola A. Oyeniyi (PhD)

Associate Professor

History Department,

Missouri State University, USA

BukolaOyeniyi@missouristate.edu