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Homoeopathic families, Hindu nation and the legislating state: making of a vernacular science, Bengal 1866-1941

Das, S.; (2012) Homoeopathic families, Hindu nation and the legislating state: making of a vernacular science, Bengal 1866-1941. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This dissertation explores the cultural production of homoeopathy as a ‘vernacular science’ in Bengal between 1866 and 1941. In mapping homoeopathy’s vernacularisation, it studies the disparate ways in which the historical understanding of ‘homoeopathy’ and ‘family’ in late nineteenth- early twentieth century Bengal informed one another. It builds upon the historical literature published on homoeopathy and family in colonial Bengal in studying the myriad registers in which the two categories intersected. The first Bengal based private family firm investing in homoeopathic publications and in the importation and sale of homoeopathic drugs was established in 1866. In 1941 under the imperatives of the nationalist Congress Party, homoeopathy was formally recognised as ‘scientific medicine’ by the colonial state and a State Faculty of Homoeopathy was established. This dissertation looks at the interactions and conversations between North Calcutta based familial homoeopathic firms, sporadically dispersed mofussil actors, the British colonial state and the emergent nationalist governments to explore the ways in which homoeopathy was domesticated as a specific worldview, an ethic, a vision and regimen of looking at and leading life in Bengal in the period under study. Imbued with potent nationalist sensibilities and invested with deep religio-cultural resonances, homoeopathy managed to inhabit the liminal space between being a European science and an indigenous quotidian life practice. By examining such ambiguities inherent in Bengali homoeopathy this dissertation draws upon and speaks to the histories of nationalist imaginings, colonial modernities and governmentality. In so doing, it elaborates on the centrality and recurrence of the category ‘family’ in the history of homoeopathy by studying cultures of business practices, of biographising, processes of translations, indigenisation, and quotidian health managements.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Homoeopathic families, Hindu nation and the legislating state: making of a vernacular science, Bengal 1866-1941
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Biosciences (Division of) > UCL Centre for the History of Medicine

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