Pacific History Association Conference 2018

Dear Circle Readers,

Please see the following post regarding the upcoming:

Pacific History Association Conference 2018:

London & Cambridge, 3-5 December 2018

Panel – call for papers closes 9 July

All papers must be submitted directly to the panel organisers

Health and Labour After the Pacific War: Pacific Islanders and Medical Infrastructure

Sandra Widmer (, York University and Christine Winter (, Flinders University of South Australia

Providing biomedical health care and conducting health research requires particular infrastructures. In this respect, the post war era was marked by particular trends in “magic bullets” and technological fixes for global problems of hunger, clean water and infectious disease to achieve “development”. This panel looks at what contexts in the Pacific region can complicate this history. The post-war era also marked changes in economies and forms of labour and training for Pacific islanders. This panel will look at the work needed for post-war health infrastructure in a way that shows the overlap between labour history and biomedical care/medical research history. The panel asserts Pacific islanders’ centrality in the topic, by looking at what historically specific kinds of labour or care relationships were needed in the development of infrastructure and biomedicine.  We take a broad approach to infrastructure. (e.g. water, electricity, energy, institutions like hospitals, knowledge sharing systems, roads, shipping, transport, laboratories, medical equipment).

We welcome papers on (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Post-war directions of research and health (UN, NGOs; cold war)
  • Pacific Islander training and labour to build and operate infrastructures
  • Health Infrastructures and Nation Building and/or Decolonization
  • The transition from military to civilian health services
  • Labour mobility, quarantine and health monitoring

Short Biographies:

Sandra Widmer is assistant professor of anthropology at York University in Toronto. She has also held a postdoctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Sandra Widmer conducts research on women’s reproductive health, the role of biomedicine and demographic research in colonial state formation and the relations and differences enabled in nutrition, metabolism and microbiome research.

Christine Winter is Matthew Flinders Fellow in History, and A/Professor at the College of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Flinders University in Adelaide. From 2014 to 2018 she was Australian Research Council Future Fellow. Christine’s work combines history of science and migration and identity studies. Her Matthew Flinders Fellowship research project Humanitarianism or Security? The New Global Health analyses through a regional focus Australia’s role in health research, infrastructure development and humanitarian intervention.