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Jour Fixe by Prof. Harish Naraindas

21. Jun. 2017

On Thursday, June 29 from 4-6 pm, Prof. Harish Naraindas from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, gave a talk at the Cluster’s Jour Fixe. His lecture was entitled “Is Medical Tourism Transcultural Hypogamy?”.

This talk claimed that the epithet medical tourism, which is of recent provenance, tacitly subscribes to a particular and narrow understanding of ‘medicine’, namely the Anglo-American variant of biomedicine. Unlike its Continental European counterpart, this variant does not countenance the Kur (spa/termas) as medical therapy. This is a therapy, which is part of orthodox biomedicine on the Continent and one where pleasure and therapy often co-exist. The Anglo-American variant leads to an exclusive focus on what may be called ‘organ’ based therapy with an emphasis on surgical and technological intervention. There, uninsured and underinsured ‘middle class’ patients undertake hypogamous travel from the White world to wog land.

In this context, Naraindas’ talk not only suggested that the epithet medical tourism needs careful scrutiny, and to be situated as part of a longer genealogy and larger canvas to include all kinds of transnational, transcultural and transregional medical travel. It also made a plea for re-examining the kind of morality play that the epithet engenders.

Harish Naraindas is professor of Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University and further adjunct professor at the University of Iowa. Currently, he is working on past-life aetiologies and therapeutic trance in German psychosomatic medicine, a cross-cultural study of perinatal death, personhood and odes of memorializing perinatal loss.

The Jour Fixe is a regular event of the Cluster Asia and Europe, taking place twice each semester. Four research areas are organizing this event together with their speakers Prof. Diamantis Panagiotopoulos (Area A), Prof. Christiane Brosius (Area B), Prof. Joachim Kurtz (Area C) and Prof. Monica Juneja (Area D).
Find more information on the Jour Fixe’s website.


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  • Prof. Harish Naraindas

  • Prof. William S. Sax introducing the speaker