Lèpre et construction de l’éthiopie contemporaine / Leprosy and construction of contemporary Ethiopia


CFEE Seminar on Contemporary Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa (2014-2015)

1ère séance / 1st session : Disease, an actor in the construction of the Ethiopian Empire. The example of leprosy, par / by Vanessa Pedrotti (Université d’Aix-Marseille/IMAF).

Cette première séance animée par Vanessa Pedrotti, est accueillie au sein du séminaire de recherche du département d’anthropologie sociale de l’Université d’Addis-Abeba / This session presented by Vanessa Pedrotti, will be part of the program of the Social Anthropology Department research seminar, Addis Ababa.

Vendredi 12 décembre 2014 (14h-16h) / Friday, December 12th (2-4 PM). Lieu / Place : AAU Sidist Kilo Campus, Room n° NCR 114.

Disease, an actor in the construction of the Ethiopian Empire. The example of leprosy

In 1901, the first Ethiopian leprosarium was built in Harar under the name “St-Antoine”. This missionary initiative which takes place in specific sanitary (prevent contagion risks), social (help the lepers) and religious (convert new souls) dimensions survived many vicissitudes while marking the beginning of a new conception of disease. In the early twentieth century leprosy is more considered as a divine punishment than the result of a microbial virus in Ethiopia. In the 1950’s, the struggle against the spread of leprosy  became the Ethiopian Ministry of Health main issue. The study of the leprosarium, a localised building and a specific religious community, highlights a broader process of secularisation and “medicalisation” of a heath sector. The theme has moved from a study of religion to a study of political, economic, medical and environmental dynamics in order to set the context and move away from pure
proselytising logics. By raising questions about how, in the twentieth century, leprosy was perceived, managed and institutionalised by different actors, the aim of this study is to provide a new perspective on the process of Ethiopian state modernisation implemented under the reign of Haile Selassie.

Sur ce même thème et par le même auteur, voir également sur ce blog la note de recherche Iconographie des débuts de la léproserie de Harar. / On this topic and by the same author, see as well on this blog the research note Iconography of the beginnings of Harar leprosarium.

Vanessa Pedrotti est doctorante en histoire à l’Université d’Aix-Marseille (Institut des mondes africains – IMAF, UMR 8171) sous la direction d’Henri Médard. / Vanessa Pedrotti is PhD canidate in history at Université d’Aix-Marseille (Institut des mondes africains – IMAF, UMR 8171). Her advisor is Henri Médard.

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