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Decolonizing Global Health Conference

Friday, January 31, 2020

1:00 – 5:15 pm ET (Geneva time: 19:00 – 23:15)

 Love Auditorium, Levine Science Research Center

Duke University

Global health as we know it today – in our research, our practice, and our programming – is the newest configuration of what was once ‘tropical health’ and ‘colonial medicine’. Yet in most major institutions and organizations today, global health is practiced in a depoliticized and ahistorical manner. Oppressive roots of global health, such as colonialism, slavery, and racism are often hidden by a focus on interventions that alleviate human suffering. As a result, many global health practitioners and researchers, despite good intentions, perpetuate the very systems of oppression in which colonial medicine was embedded. The conference was borne out of a desire to organize folks (students, activists, academics, practitioners, researchers) who are passionate about global health but may find themselves at odds with the uncritical and depoliticized nature of its institutions.

The mission of the conference was to create a space for students, academics, and practitioners to join the rising tide of communities around the globe working to challenge structural violence that stems from historical colonialism and contemporary neo-colonialist practices in global health; and to work toward global health futures that are anti-colonial, anti-racist, and non-exploitative.

This conference was organized by the WHO Collaborating Centre on Global Health Histories in collaboration with the University of York, Duke Global Health Institute, and the Duke Decolonizing Global Health Working Group.