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Antiblackness and Global Health

Antiblackness and Global Health

A Response to Ebola in the Colonial Wake

by Lioba Hirsch

Series: Anthropology, Culture and Society

Examines how colonial mentalities and infrastructures shaped the response to the West African Ebola epidemic

Antiblackness and Global Health offers a major new account of the 2014-2016 West African Ebola crisis and a radical perspective on the racial politics of global health.

Lioba Hirsch traces the legacies of colonialism across the landscape of global health in Sierra Leone, showing how this history underpinned the international response to Ebola. The book moves from the material and atmospheric traces of colonialism and enslavement in Freetown, to the forms of knowledge presented in colonial archives and in contemporary expert accounts, to disease control and care practices.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed, health inequalities around the world disproportionately affect people of African descent. This book aims to equip critical scholars, medical and humanitarian practitioners, policy makers and health activists with the tools and knowledge to challenge antiblackness in global health practice and politics. The book argues that Black Studies can inform future research on medical interventions in Africa by unpacking postcolonial silences, centring Black perspectives and highlighting the endurance of colonial infrastructures in the present.

Lioba Hirsch is a Wellcome Research Fellow and Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. She began her career as an international development practitioner in Zambia before completing a PhD in Geography and Global Health at University College London. Hirsch has published articles and essays on the need for a Black Studies approach to global health. Her writing has appeared in The LancetArea, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers and Health & Place.

'A compelling account of how antiblackness and colonialism maintain a grip on the epistemic - and, by extension, material - infrastructure of global health, showing us where to aim the hammer in our efforts to knock them off.'

- Seye Abimbola, University of Sydney

'This book reveals the faultlines of inequality and racism in global health formed by colonialism and how they continue to shape global public health practice. It is a powerful and painful reminder that the effects of colonialism are still apparent today. A must read for those who care about justice and equity in health.'

- Rashida Ferrand, Director, The Health Research Unit Zimbabwe

'Hirsch offers us a compelling and original account linking anti-Blackness to the spatialization and coloniality of contemporary global health practice, and the racial politics of care during a public health emergency.'

- Adia Benton, author, HIV Exceptionalism: Development through Disease in Sierra Leone

'In this conceptually ambitious polemic, Hirsch adroitly applies concepts from Black Studies to identify and critique hidden layers of racial bias in epidemic responses. Hirsh's innovative thinking and compassionate narrative make this book essential reading in critical global health studies.'

- Simukai Chigudu, Associate Professor of African Politics, Oxford University

Abbreviations
Preface
Introduction
1. Place, Weather and Disease Control in (Post-)Colonial Freetown
2. Colonial Mobilities and Infrastructures: The Production of (Anti-)Blackness
3. Thinking and Practicing Care: Space, Risk and Racialisation in Ebola Treatment Centres
4. Wakefulness: Epistemic Spaces, Flows and Epigrammatic Antiblackness
5. Thinking Global Health Otherwise
Bibliography

Published by Pluto Press in Jun 2024
Paperback ISBN: 9780745346281

140mm x 216mm