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C3W event at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Imperial and Global History (CIGH)

Posted by C3W Admin on January 19 2023

On behalf of Chris Sandal-Wilson and the University of Exeter’s Centre for Imperial and Global History (CIGH), co-hosted with the Centre for Medical History, you are all warmly welcome to the next event.

We are thrilled that this event will involve online and in-person three of the postdoctoral research fellows on our  project, based at the Wellcome Centre, University of Exeter, which retells the history of global health during the Cold War and after through a focus on the socialist world. Andrea Espinoza Carvajal, Lu Chen, and Sebastian Fonseca will each be speaking about their research, taking in reproductive health, mass vaccination campaigns, and insurgent health services across Asia and the Americas: please see below for titles and abstracts.

This event will take place on Wednesday 25 January from 3.30-5pm in Room B218 in Amory, and online via Zoom. To join remotely, please register using the following link:

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday 25 January

Andrea Espinoza Carvajal, ‘Family, sex, and reproduction. Transnational conversations between Ecuador and the Socialist World’

This presentation aims to discuss the transnational connections developed between Ecuador and the socialist world between the 1960 to 1980s and how discourses related to sex, sexuality, and reproduction circulated, were adapted, situated or challenged in a time when Ecuador created its Ministry of Health (1967). I aim to reflect on the discussions around sex, reproduction and morality in connection with the health cultures produced by socialism. I aim to focus on the experience of Ecuadorian women from different sociocultural and ethnic backgrounds, considering that any circulation or adaptation of health cultures in Ecuador is mediated by its colonial history.

Lu Chen, ‘Emotions, Third World Internationalism, and Public Health Movements in China: Mass Smallpox Vaccination in South Jiangsu, 1950-1953’

The construction of the third world after WWII provided post-colonial states with a platform to pursue an alternative path against imperialist rhetoric and Cold War dependency. As Rachael Leow has argued, emotions played an important role in popularising Third World Internationalism across the Afro-Asian world and encouraged ordinary people to engage with the many forms of movements beyond the diplomatic incarnation. In 1952, the Asia-Pacific Peace Conference (APC) was held in Beijing amidst the increasing concerns over the wars in Korea, Indochina, and Malaya. The Asian countries were brought together by a ‘feeling’ of global justice. The same “feeling” also motivated tens of millions of Chinese to participate in the Patriotic Health Campaign which was launched against the germ warfare by the United States during the Korean War. In this presentation, I explore the emotional dimensions of the public health movements in China through the case of mass smallpox vaccination in south Jiangsu in the early 1950s. It aims to analyse how the emotions transformed radial ideas of third world Internationalism into purposeful and influential actions in the field of public health.

Sebastian Fonseca, ‘FARC Health models: Socialist Health in the Cold War’

The Latin American Cold War witnessed a range of social upheavals in proximity with the anti-communist sentiments of Juntas Militares and totalitarian states. Aided by national security policies, the long-standing land conflict enabled the rise of leftist Guerrilla insurgencies since the 1950s that, inspired by Ernesto “Che” Guevara’sfoquismo and the Cuban Revolution, morphed from self-defence to belligerent movements to topple dictatorships and commence new socialist-inspired orders. One such case was the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia FARC, a communist movement formalised in 1964 by peasant paramilitary groups from South Tolima, Colombia. Since the Colombian Peace Agreements in 2016, state institutions have documented the atrocities of the armed conflict with the mandate to establish truth, reconciliation, and non-repetition. The work completed is framed in terms of destruction, demise, and illegality – replicating the dominant narratives of war and conflict. Though indeed fundamental elements, this approach neglects the social processes that made community life possible within affected territories. My work explores the alternative health models developed in territories under the dominance of the FARC – a case of “socialist health” in a region whose engagement with communist ideology is marginal, stigmatised, and persecuted. I will provide advancements and methodological challenges of the work so far.

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