Glen Ncube - University of Pretoria

29 September 2015
The Department of Historical and Heritage Studies
Invites you to a seminar entitled
Images of Memory: Patient photography and the making of medical
identities in early colonial Zimbabwe
Presented by
Glen Ncube (University of Pretoria)
Collections of medical images and devices, including photographs, clinical sketches, posters,
and prosthetics are at
the centre of renewed scholarly interest among medical historians and historians of art and visual culture alike.
Although the legitimate ethical considerations that normally cloister these visual medical
archives and restrict
their exploration and curation in non-medical contexts have continued to loom large, there is also a sense in which
scholarship and public knowledge are better served by a careful exploration of this largely creepy material.
However, there is still a dearth in scholarly work that explores the relatively large medical photographic material
produced in the wake of the advance of biomedicine in colonial Africa. Using an illustrative sample of patient
photographs from early colonial Zimbabwe, this article begins by probing connections between scholars’ reticence
and the assumed ethical and visual concerns such photographs generate because of their colonial production. It
then proceeds to explore the possible functions of such photographs within colonial society and medicine. The
paper argues that, assessed slightly different from the now well-known Foucauldian views about the
colonial/biomedical gaze, some colonial medical photographs can be found to have mainly functioned as images
of memory, and occupied a central role in the forging of colonial medical identities, among other things.
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
HSB 18-26
12:30 – 2:00
[email protected] by 24 August 2015