This panel wishes to examine the engagements between religious perspectives and practice, and how these matters intersect with various medical traditions in order to address issues of health, healing, and notions of efficacy.
Religious practices, and the cosmologies they draw upon, shape many people's understanding of the relationships of the body, the mind, and the soul. These understandings form a critical foundation from which social, cultural, and ethical perspectives of health and practices of healing emerge. Historical and contemporary perspectives of the development of Western medical traditions and clinical institutions has provided a framework that favours Western scientific discourse. Through this discourse, alternative medical traditions and practices have become largely marginalised. Furthermore, in many communities where concepts of health and healing practice draw strongly upon religious beliefs and alternative understandings of the natural world, the efficacy of Western medical traditions and institutional privilege has been challenged or reinterpreted. How do religious perspectives, and respective cosmologies, address or influence practices of health and healing within the contours of various, and at times disparate, medical traditions? This panel invites papers that seek to explore this question through historical and contemporary contexts that address various understandings and notions of efficacy, and the diagnosis and treatment of physical and/or mental illnesses.