Historical and anthropological reflections

Colin Matthew Room, Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford




Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Dr Chris Low (Research Affiliate, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford)

Historical and anthropological reflections on collapse and seizures among KhoeSan of southern Africa

Collapse and seizures are a relatively well known component of the San healing dance. Whilst the dance is a relatively well studied phenomenon anthropologists of the dance have overwhelmingly ignored the wider context of these experiences. During this talk I will pull together seemingly diverse contexts of fits, collapse and seizures as I argue that what happens in the dance can be better understood if it is located within  wider KhoeSan ontology  and understanding of  illness, healing, spirits and potency. My findings range from colonial records to recent anthropology and are based upon nearly twenty years of working on health and healing among the KhoeSan.