Medical Encounters: Knowledge and Identity in Early American Literatures (Paperback)Kelly Wisecup (author)
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Against the prevailing view that colonial texts provide insight only into their writers' perspectives, Wisecup demonstrates that Europeans, Natives, and Africans held certain medical ideas in common, including a conception of disease as both a spiritual and a physical entity, and a belief in the power of special rituals or prayers to restore health. As a consequence, medical knowledge and practices operated as a shared form of communication on which everyone drew in order to adapt to a world of devastating new maladies and unfamiliar cures.
By signaling one's relation to supernatural forces, to the natural world, and to other people, medicine became an effective means of communicating a variety of messages about power and identity as well as bodies and minds. Native Americans in Virginia and New England, for example, responded to the nearly simultaneous arrival of mysterious epidemics and peoples by incorporating colonists into explanations of disease, while British American colonists emphasised to their audiences back home the value of medical knowledge drawn from cross-cultural encounters in the New World.
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 226 x 152 x 23 mm
An interesting, informative, and important book. Medical Encounters provides a new lens through which we can see moments of cultural encounter as rich with information about Native, African, and European beliefs and experiences.--Kristina Bross, author of Dry Bones and Indian Sermons: Praying Indians in Colonial America
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