Nancy Rose Hunt

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2014/2015
discipline History
Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Research project

New Histories of Medicine: Global, Psychiatric, African


Health, global, zone and milieu are the concepts that I will focus on during my EURIAS fellowship. I will be carrying out two projects: a condensed essay on a global history of medicine, and a new research project on humours and psychiatry in Africa.

A global history of health: I will develop a long history of health, from the era of the first hunter-gatherers to our era, populated with digital gleaners and “bare life”. Variations of scale between global history and microhistory nodes will contribute to my investigation of the concept of zone and milieu.

Secondly, my research focuses on The Zones of Mental Health: An African Genealogy. Since 1989, a powerful global mental health movement has emerged, as both a movement and an industry. This movement is recent and continues to move forward in Africa, in shantytowns and gated communities, and is producing a growing number of clinical trials. An often neglected issue will have crucial importance: the influence of the European metropolis and its sensibilities on colonial psychiatric practices. This project – which merges a summary work, archival research and ethnography, along with a systematic aspect – aims to pick out major trends, while casting light on the texture inherent to colonial madness.




Nancy Rose Hunt is Professor of History and of Obstetrics/Gynecology at Ann Arbor University of Michigan. She holds a Ph.D in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her main research fields are Africa, health, medicine, violence, religious studies, humanitarianism, gender, psychiatry, theory, ethnographic history, global history, and visual culture. A specialist of history and anthropology in Africa, she focuses on matters medical, therapeutic, and gender, while paying attention to material objects, everyday technologies, visual culture, and violence. She has published articles and essays on reproductive politics, breastfeeding, nursing, letter-writing, bicycles, comics, and power in colonial situations; as well as on abortion in African novels; colonial technologies and postcolonial debris; and the acoustics of war and humanitarianism.


Selected publications


A Colonial Lexicon: Of Birth Ritual, Medicalization, and Mobility in the Congo, Duke University Press, Durham/London, 1999.

'An Acoustic Register, Tenacious Images, and Congolese Scenes of Rape and Ruination', in A.L. Stoler, Scarred Landscapes and Imperial Debris, special issue Cultural Anthropology, vol. 23, 2008, pp. 220-253.

'Rewriting the Soul in Colonial Congo', Past & Present, vol. 198, February 2008, pp. 185-215.

'Between Fiction and History: Modes of Writing Abortion in Africa', Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, vol. 47, no. 186, June 2007, pp. 277-312.

'Tintin and the Interruptions of Congolese Comics', in P.S. Landau & D. Kaspin (eds), Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2002, pp. 90-123.




junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline Literature
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline History
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline History
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline History Middle Ages