The Moral and Political Economies of Health in South West Africa's Colonial Mines and the League of Nations mandate. An Analysis of Emerging Global Health Discourses and Practices.
The objective of this project is to bring forward a more nuanced understanding of the political economy of health in the mines of colonial South West Africa. In particular the project will shed light on the often ambiguous discourses and practices of colonial officials and mining officers in relation to the health of the African workforce and how these responded to emerging global health discourses. I aim to use my time at the Brocher foundation to consult the League of Nations and United Nations office at Geneva (UNOG) archives. This is because from 1919 South West Africa was a League of Nations C mandate of the British-ruled Union of South Africa, and the UNOG's archives hold a collection of official correspondence. A preliminary research of the archives' online catalogue has returned several entries consisting of reports, correspondences, inspections and memoranda which promise to be of interest to my research. These documents were exchanged between South West Africa, the Union of South Africa and the League of Nations in the period under consideration. The access and consultation of these archival records will be fundamental to reveal this history and bring forward a much needed insights to the existing scholarship on the political economy of health in colonial Africa. It will also open up hitherto unexplored avenues of research on the early emergence of health discourses and practices on a global stage. In particular, I am interested in understanding what was the role of the League of Nations in shaping early health interventions on the colonial mines and for the emergence of complex notions of care, health and morality in Africa and on a global stage. Whilst at the Brocher foundation, I aim to contribute to the academic life of your institution, by presenting the preliminary research findings at the Brocher foundation's seminar. Furthermore, and beyond my period of residence, I aim to establish a network of collaboration with past and present residents at the Brocher foundation whose work addresses common research themes. My plan over the medium and long-term is to develop interdisciplinary and collaborative research with other academics working in medical anthropology, the history of medicine and other cognate disciplines. In this respect, my period of residence at the Brocher foundation will provide an invaluable opportunity for my planned research and networking activities and for the advancement of academic knowledge on the political economies of health in Africa's colonial mines and the history of global health.