The Colonial Life of Pharmaceuticals
Medicines and Modernity in Vietnam

Global Health Histories Series


Language: Anglais
Cover of the book The Colonial Life of Pharmaceuticals

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296 p. · Hardback
Situated at the crossroads between the history of colonialism, of modern Southeast Asia, and of medical pluralism, this history of medicine and health traces the life of pharmaceuticals in Vietnam under French rule. Laurence Monnais examines the globalization of the pharmaceutical industry, looking at both circulation and consumption, considering access to drugs and the existence of multiple therapeutic options in a colonial context. She argues that colonialism was crucial to the worldwide diffusion of modern medicines and speaks to contemporary concerns regarding over-reliance on pharmaceuticals, drug toxicity, self-medication, and the accessibility of effective medicines. Retracing the steps by which pharmaceuticals were produced and distributed, readers meet the many players in the process, from colonial doctors to private pharmacists, from consumers to various drug traders and healers. Yet this is not primarily a history of medicines as objects of colonial science, but rather a history of medicines as tools of social change.
1. Making medicines modern, making medicines colonial; 2. Medicines in colonial (public) health; 3. The mirage of mass distribution: state Quinine and essential medicines; 4. The many lives of medicines in the private market; 5. Crimes and misdemeanors: transactions and transgressions in the therapeutic market; 6. Learning effects: lived experiences, pharmaceutical publicity and the roots of selective demand; 7. Medicines as vectors of modernization and medicalization; 8. Therapeutic pluralism under colonial rule; Conclusion: from colonial medicines to post-colonial health.
Laurence Monnais is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Asian Studies (CETASE) at Université de Montréal. She specializes in the history of medicine in Southeast Asia, global histories of health and the history of alternative medicines. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she is also co-founder and president of History of Medicine in Southeast Asia (HOMSEA).