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Medical Knowledge in the Portuguese Colonial World: Indigenous Healing Practices in Ethno-Botanical Manuscripts

Medical Knowledge in the Portuguese Colonial World: Indigenous Healing Practices in Ethno-Botanical Manuscripts
91 Charles Street West, Victoria College room 215
Time: Feb 1st, 2:00 pm End: Feb 1st, 4:00 pm
Interest Categories: Spanish & Portuguese (FAS), South Asian, French and Linguistics (UTSC), French (FAS), East Asian Studies (FAS), Diaspora/Transnational, Book History/Print Culture, Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC), Art (FAS), African, 1500-1800
Talk by Timothy Walker, U Massachusetts-Dartmouth

The Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology presents an IHPST Colloquium:

Timothy Walker, History, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

The Circulation of Medical Knowledge in the Portuguese Colonial World: Assimilation, Codification, and Dissemination of Indigenous Healing Practices through Ethno-Botanical Manuscripts (16th-18th Centuries)

Abstract:  This presentation will examine how that transfer and diffusion of medical knowledge occurred by focusing on descriptive ethno-botanical texts produced in Portuguese colonies during the early modern period, and the worldwide implications of such media for the transfer and evolution of healing practices in the Lusophone world. This talk will explore these texts as conduits of multicultural medical knowledge, wherein European and Indian, African, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese and South American concepts about healing blended. By the mid-seventeenth century, practical medicine in Portuguese colonial enclaves had become thoroughly hybridized, with applied remedies in colonial health institutions (whether state-sponsored or religious) relying significantly on the use of indigenous medicinal substances and methods. The illustrated lecture will explicate these missionary and medical practitioners’ texts, their intermingled medical cosmology, and the colonial environment that placed so much importance on the remedies supplied through indigenous healing plants. Further, the presentation will describe various medicinal plants cultivated in Portuguese colonial hospital gardens, their applications and effects, as well as the social context in which the medical practitioners who employed these plants operated.

Co-sponsored by the Department of French

Refreshments to follow outside VC215.  This event is free and open to all. Registration is  not required.

If you have an accessbility or accommodation need for this event, please email Denise Horsley at denise.horsley@utoronto.ca to make appropriate arrangements.

Download flyer [pdf]


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