Care, infrastructures and antiblackness: the making of biomedicine in a Sierra Leonean hospital


  • Dr Lioba Hirsch

    London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom

Project summary

Medicine and medical racism played an important role in the British colonisation of Sierra Leone and were integral to its administration. One site in particular bore witness to the uses of medicine by colonial officers to administer ideas around racial difference and white superiority. This site, subsequently used to quarantine liberated slaves and build a colonial hospital, is still home to one of Freetown's main hospitals.

A Black Studies framework allows me to research what impact antiblack histories ingrained in this site have on the hospital's contemporary infrastructures and care practices. In doing so I foreground the persistence of antiblackness, its non-linearity and simultaneous intangibility to challenge traditional structural ways of studying health inequalities. Expected impact: The project furthers existing analyses of care, colonialism and African distrust in biomedicine, the sites associated with it and practitioners thereof, and reveals new findings on the relation between racism and medicine.