Global Movements, Local Concerns: Medicine and Health in Southeast Asia

$38.00 SGD

Edited by Laurence Monnais and Harold J. Cook
Contributions by Thomas B. Colvin, C. Michele Thompson, Liew Kai Khiun, Annick Guénel, Raquel A.G. Reyes, Liesbeth Hesselink, Ooi Keat Gin, Michael G. Vann, Huang Yu-Ling, Ayo Wahlberg, Chatichai Muksong and Komatra Chuengsatiansup

The development of medicine in Southeast Asia over the past two centuries has not been a simple imposition of European scientific medicine, but a complex and negotiated process that drew on Southeast Asian health experts, local medical traditions, and changing national and popular expectations. The contributors to this volume show how the practices of health in Southeast Asia over the past two centuries were mediated by local medical traditions, colonial interests, governments and policies, international interventions, and by a wide range of health agents and intermediaries. Their findings call into question many of the claims based on medicalization and biopolitics that treat change as a process of rupture.

While governments, both colonial and national, instituted policies that affected large numbers of people, much health care remained rooted in a more interactive and locally-mediated experience, in which tradition, adaptation and hybridization is as important as innovation and conflict. "Semi-subaltern" Western-trained doctors and varied traditional healers, many of them women, were among the cultural brokers involved in the building of healthcare systems, and helped circulate mixed practices and ideas about medicine and health even as they found their place in new professional and social hierarchies in an era of globalization.


"...a long awaited and welcome volume that deals with new and relatively unexplored issues for this region...This reviewer highly recommends this volume for both general readership and academics interested in the medical history of Southeast Asia." - Atsuko Naono

"...each chapter presents a new perspective in Southeast Asian historiography that goes beyond the colonial framework." - Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua

"This book is thus important in extending the scope of analysis from colonizers to Southeast Asian rulers and doctors." - Loh Kang Seng


Laurence Monnais is an Associate Professor of History at the Universite de Montreal, and holder of the Canadian Research Chair in Health Care Pluralism.

Harold J. Cook is the John K. Nickoll Professor of History at Brown University.


History of Medicine in Southeast Asia Series
Publication Year: 2012
350 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-639-9, Paperback 

NUS Press