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Glen Ncube

I specialise in the histories of medicine and healthcare, with specific focus on Zimbabwe; I am particularly interested in exploring change in healthcare policy and medical practice in colonial societies characterised by struggles over power, culture, and resources. My doctoral thesis, titled 'The Making of Rural Healthcare in Colonial Zimbabwe: A History of the Ndanga Medical Unit, Fort Victoria, 1930–1960s’, which was completed in 2012 at the University of Cape Town, explores how colonial encounters spawned and stifled particular forms of ambiguous medical initiatives as the healthcare of Africans began to occupy centre stage in colonial policy initiatives. The APC postdoctoral fellowship (2012/2013) enabled me to begin extending and converting my existing research into a book and journal articles. I have also set out to explore issues related to colonial medical archives in their visual and documentary forms. In particular, I have been occupied with exploring how photographic traces, everyday medical documents and colonial ethnographic studies can possibly help us to refigure the interests, perceptions and behaviour of both patients and medical practitioners in the context of colonial encounters. What emerges from this research are the stark conceptual, methodological, and ethical complexities involved in working with archives of sickness produced in contexts of asymmetrical colonial power relations. Some of these issues feed into the emerging field of medical humanities. I welcome enquiries and discussions around these and other related issues.  

Selected Publications
Ncube, G., 'The Problem of the Health of the Native: Colonial Rule and the Rural African Healthcare Question in Zimbabwe, 1890s–1930’, South African Historical Journal, 64, 4 (Dec. 2012).