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4 - Remedies on the Spot

Science, Agricultural Development and Botanical Knowledge in Sierra Leone ca. 1800

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 February 2021

Kalle Kananoja
Affiliation:
University of Oulu, Finland
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Summary

This chapter examines Africans as providers of plants and local medical knowledge in Sierra Leone by focusing on the documentation produced by Adam Afzelius and Thomas Winterbottom, an English physician. It shows that, in Sierra Leone, the indigenous knowledge collected by Europeans was completely provided by Africans. Two local men, Peter and Duffa, clearly stand out among African informants. They provided more than half of the plants studied by Afzelius, and a typical entry in the botanist’s journal usually began thus: ‘Peter and Duffa brought…’ Yet, the journal remains silent on who Peter and Duffa really were. Typical of scientific voyagers, Afzelius and Winterbottom rarely discussed the identities of their assistants and informants. Although they accepted and valued African botanical and medical knowledge, their informants remain almost anonymous and completely faceless. Yet, the African contribution was integral to early modern natural history and provided the basis for the scientific studies conducted by Afzelius and his students.

Type
Chapter
Information
Healing Knowledge in Atlantic Africa
Medical Encounters, 1500–1850
, pp. 103 - 119
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Remedies on the Spot
  • Kalle Kananoja, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Book: Healing Knowledge in Atlantic Africa
  • Online publication: 08 February 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108868020.005
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  • Remedies on the Spot
  • Kalle Kananoja, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Book: Healing Knowledge in Atlantic Africa
  • Online publication: 08 February 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108868020.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Remedies on the Spot
  • Kalle Kananoja, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Book: Healing Knowledge in Atlantic Africa
  • Online publication: 08 February 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108868020.005
Available formats
×