This seminar summarises some of the findings and arguments in William Beinart and Karen Brown, African Local Knowledge & Livestock Health: Diseases & Treatments in South Africa (James Currey and Wits University Pres, 2013/14). Understanding local knowledge has become a significant academic project amongst those interested in Africa and developing countries more generally – especially as part of the critique of top down development. This book explores a central body of rural African knowledge about livestock diseases. We examine the legacy of traditional ideas, changing patterns of local knowledge and the relationship between local and scientific knowledge. Our aim is to explore a diverse and hybrid set of ideas and practices that includes environmental, supernatural and biomedical interpretations of disease. We discuss a range of treatments including the widespread use of plants as well as biomedicines.

William Beinart is Professor of Race Relations at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford. He was Director of the Centre, 2002-6; Chair of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, 2006-8; President of the ASAUK, 2008-10 and Director of Graduate Studies at the African Studies Centre, 2009-13. His recent publications include Environment and Empire (2007), with Lotte Hughes; Prickly Pear: the Social History of a Plant in the Eastern Cape (2011), with Luvuyo Wotshela; and African Local Knowledge and Livestock Health: Diseases and Treatments in South Africa (2013), with Karen Brown. He edited Popular Protest and Resistance Movements in South Africa (2010) with Marcelle Dawson and Wild Things: Nature and the Social Imagination (2013) with Karen Middleton and Simon Pooley.

Event type: Seminar
Date of event: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Venue: Centre for African Studies Gallery, Upper Campus, UCT