Monday, June 22, 2015

CfPs: Workshop on Indian Medicine: Between State and Village; 23-24 June 2016; at Leiden, Netherlands

Workshop on Indian Medicine: Between State and Village

Workshop Dates: 23-24 June 2016

at Leiden, Netherlands

Application deadline: 1 October 2015

Convenor: Dr Maarten Bode, Adjunct Research Faculty at the Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Adjunct Faculty at the Institute of Trans-disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology, Bangalore, India

The workshop takes the sensibilities of Indian medicines as its point of departure. Themes to be discussed in the workshop are: Indian medicines as tangible and intangible heritage; Indian medicines as health security for the poor; Indian medicines as identity markers (for the nation, for local communities, and for Westerners in search of Indian spirituality). An important cross cutting theme is the quest for legitimation and acceptance. For example by linking Indian medicines to the global project of Evidence Based Medicine and to Indian knowledge systems. Contributions from medical anthropology (the actors' point of view) and Science and Technology Studies (social construction of medical knowledge) are especially welcome. However papers from other theoretical orientations are also greeted.

An important question is if and how Indian nationalist politics affect the recognition, ownership, and management of the wide spectrum of traditional medicines in contemporary India. Social-cultural research shows that on the national level we see debatable - either unintentional or intentional - attempts at reifying, ossifying and nationalizing Indian medicines as Ayurveda. The suggestion is that Ayurveda as India's national medicine is a discrete medical system and that it provides the codified substrate for the many local forms of herbal based Indian medicine practiced to-day. Though this perspective has been contested as an act of appropriation, labelling local forms of Indian medicine as Ayurveda can also be seen as an act of empowerment. What is needed is a dialogue between two important stakeholders: the Indian state and local communities. By discussing the interactions between global, national and local forms of Indian medicine the workshop wants to contribute to such a dialogue.

The meeting, organized by the International Institute for Asian Studies, the Netherlands, will take the form of a series of discussions of new academic papers that are submitted in advance of the workshop. A peer-reviewed selection of the (revised) papers will subsequently be prepared for publication in the scholarly journal Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity (IASTAM, Brill).

Submission details

An abstract of not more than 300 words should be submitted, with a short CV, through the form available here before 1 October 2015. Abstract writers will be informed if their abstract has been accepted before 1 November 2015. Participants are expected to submit their papers before 15 April 2016, which then will be discussed in the workshop itself.


Travel and accommodation

The International Institute for Asian Studies provides hotel accommodation for three nights to all selected participants.  Participants are expected to take care of their own travel expenses.

Very limited financial support may be made available to specific scholars residing in Asia and some junior or low-income scholars in other parts of the world. If you would like to be considered for financial support, please submit the Grant Application form in which you state the motivation for your request. Please note that the workshop operates on a limited budget, and will not normally be able to provide more than a partial coverage of the travel expenses. The form should be submitted before 1 October 2015. Requests for funding received after this date will not be taken into consideration.



For enquires about the workshop, please contact Ms. Martina van den Haak at m.c.van.den.haak[at]

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