European knowlege and local medical practices in India

Kapil Raj, associated professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, will lecture at Fiocruz next Thursday, August 14h.  The seminar  “Making a Portuguese-Language Herbal Speak: ‘Local’ Knowledge and the East India Company in 18th-Century India”, will focus on the construction of science and knowledge in intercultural encounters.


European knowledge, especially medicine, is usually presented as being “scientific” as opposed to the “empirical”, local practices of non-European peoples. It is thus a commonplace amongst historians to consider that the former has rejected the later during European colonization.

According to Kapil Raj, a preliminary investigation about Portuguese language on herbs in Malabar Coast, India, in the mid 18th century reveals that  local medical practices interacted with European knowledge.

Besides demonstrating the crucial role of intercultural exchange, Raj’s research also  contributes to the understanding of the commercial, administrative and diplomatic practices of the European East India Companies on the Malabar coast during this period.  Kapil Raj is also the author of  Relocating Modern Science: Circulation and the Construction of Knowledge in South Asia and Europe, 1650-1900 “.

Thursday, August 14
10 AM
Room 407 “Prédio Expansão”Avenida Brasil, 4036 – Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro – RJ
(21) 3882-9095,


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