Learning from the locals: Gajdusek, kuru and cross-cultural interaction in Papua New Guinea

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Spark, Ceridwen (2005) Learning from the locals: Gajdusek, kuru and cross-cultural interaction in Papua New Guinea. Health and History, 7 (2). pp. 80-100. ISSN 1442-1771


The everyday practice of making colonies is as 'fractured and erratic ' as the various personalities of the colonisers and colonised brought together in the process. Drawing on the journals of Dr Carleton Gajdusek, who worked as a medical researcher on kuru among the Fore people of Papua New Guinea in the 1950s and 1960s, Gajduseks approach to the Fore peoples ' response to sickness is analysed. Providing evidence of an individual western medical practitioner who valued and respected local ways of responding to the sick, it presents a critique of the idea that imperialisma s a 'macro-historica'l t heoretical model provides a sufficient explanation of localised medical practice in the tropics.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/7750
DOI 10.2307/40111613
Official URL http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/40111613
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1109 Neurosciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1601 Anthropology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords ResPubID22287. Carleton Gajdusek, kuru, health, sickness, death, prion diseases, infectious diseases, cross-cultural, Fore people, tribes, western medicine, imperialism, colonialism, colonies, Papua New Guinea
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