Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • African Healing Journeys: Historical and Contemporary Responses to Disease
  • 07-Sep-2010 - 03-Oct-2010
  • White Gallery, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

This exhibition is presented in conjunction with “Medical Anthropology in Global Africa: Current Trends in Scholarship and Practice,” an international conference organized by The Kansas African Studies Center, the University of Kansas, at The Commons @ Spooner Hall, September 17-18, 2010.

African healing journeys are quests for healing and better health at multiple scales and spans. These include the short-term local journey that happens thousands of times daily in African lives, the larger-scale family or community confrontations with misfortune that take months or years to play themselves out, the life cycle of individuals and families, as well as the long-term journey of adaptive cultural response to epidemics and other large-scale health challenges that African communities have encountered through the ages. These journeys are presented through three broad themes that frame this installation: The Measure of Humanity in Health and in Suffering; Living in Balance with Nature; and Divination: The Interpretation of Misfortune.

African Healing Journeys features objects from the collections of the Spencer Museum of Art, the University of Kansas, and the Kauffman Museum, Bethel College, and is presented in conjunction with the international conference, “Medical Anthropology in Global Africa: Current Trends in Scholarship and Practice,” organized by The Kansas African Studies Center at the University of Kansas. Curated by Prof. John Janzen in the Department of Anthropology at KU, this exhibition draws from his joint exhibition project with Prof. Lee Cassanelli, the University of Pennsylvania, for the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology. A digital version of the proposal for this larger project is available at www.africanhealingjourneys.com

Organized by Prof. John Janzen, Department of Anthropology, the University of Kansas.