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Accepted Paper:

Topographies of sickness: spatialized disease and shared healing in an Amazonian quilombo  

Author:

Manuela Tassan (University of Milano-Bicocca)

Paper short abstract:

This contribution aims to discuss wellbeing and sickness in an Amazonian community of descendants of African slaves. The focus will be both on the role of the relationship with places in the construction of disease and on the importance of sharing the path of diagnosis and treatment.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, I intend to focalize the attention both on the role of the relationship with places in the construction of sickness and on the importance of sharing the path of diagnosis and treatment.

I will explore this topic starting from the idea that the bodily experience of the anthropologist can be a source of knowledge even when his/her body is defined "sick" according to local nosological categories. During the fieldwork, my interlocutors related my states of malaise to the frequentation of the forest or the river, according to an aetiology of illness based on the interaction between bodies, places and non-human entities. Therefore, in order to understand what was perceived as wellbeing and disease by my interlocutors, a reflective - in Csordas’ sense of this term - analysis of my own body interactions with spaces was essential.

At the same time, fieldwork experience showed the importance of sharing the path of diagnosis and treatment during both private consultation of the shaman and collective afro-indigenous healing rituals.

Panel Heal02a
Being healthy (or not) together: wellbeing as a form of cultural belonging I