Decolonizing Medicine in Africa and its Diaspora
A hybrid Online/In-Person Conference

Venue: College of Liberal Arts

Towson University, Maryland

Decolonizing Medicine in Africa and its Diaspora – Conference Information

The Decolonizing Medicine in Africa and its Diaspora Conference will be held at Towson University over three days beginning on Thursday, 21st September and ending on Sunday, 24th September 2023.

Please use the following online form to register for the conference before September 7th.

You may also register in person at Towson University on September 21st , but late registration may mean you will not be able to participate in some events.


The conference will be held at the College of Liberal Arts, 8000 University Avenue, Towson, MD. A nationally recognized leader in inclusive excellence, Towson University is a welcoming community for living and learning, and an important anchor institution for the greater Baltimore region. TU advances research and creates opportunities for the public good.

Conference information

The conference will include ample time for discussion and informal interactions between researchers from all over the world, to ensure a lively exchange of ideas. Each day of the conference features a keynote lecture and parallel sessions and symposia, giving participants access to a range of topics in educational research and assessment.

The social program will include a welcome reception, providing an opportunity for attendees to make and renew acquaintances in a relaxed setting. For detailed information on the pre-conference training opportunities, see the section on workshops.

A modest fee may be requested for in-person attendance. We will share more details on this when we have finalized our funding.

Travel and Arrival

Participants can travel to campus by air, car, bus or train. The closest airport to Towson University is Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).

Approximate travel time (non-rush hour) between BWI and the university is 45 minutes. An airport shuttle runs between the Towson Sheraton and BWI.

Parking spaces will be provided for participants at the Towson town Garage which is just across from the College of Liberal Arts. Find further information on Twoson University’s Directions & Parking page.

Keynotes and Workshops

We are proud to announce that one of our keynote speakers will be John Janzen (University of Kansas), esteemed scholar of medical pluralism in Africa.

More announcements on Keynotes and Workshops will follow.

Hotel Accommodation and Local Attractions

Towson University’s campus is within walking distance of Towson, a college town with tree-lined residential streets, restaurants, bookstores, a branch of the county library, movies and shopping.

The Sheraton Baltimore North is the closest hotel to campus. The hotel offers free shuttle service to the university as well as an indoor pool, fitness room, bar, restaurant and extensive conference facilities.

Book online for the TU Friends & Family rate of $149/night.

Other Local Hotels

For reduced rates, add the booking code TUU under Special Rates/ Corporate/Promo.

The following hotels are part of a program that offers special discounted rates to visitors and guests of Towson University. You can access these rates only through the links below. They are not listed on the hotel websites.


Child care:

  • Please note that child care is available at the University Child Care Center. This is an unsubsidized service – please contact the Center for more information.

IT Connections and Computer Services:

  • Public Wi-Fi will be available at Towson University (passwords will be included during onsite registration).
  • Laptop hookups will also be available (details to follow on specific requirements).

Decolonizing medicine in Africa LogoCALL FOR PAPERS

Decolonizing Medicine in Africa and its Diaspora

A Hybrid Online/In Person International Conference

(History and Related Disciplines)

Hosted by
Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Canada
Towson University, Maryland, USA

September 21 to 24, 2023.

Medicine in Africa and the diaspora continues to be dominated by theories, narratives, and archives that reinforce the belief that modern medicine is external to Africa. A legacy of Eurocentric scholarship has generated the misconception that medicine was gifted to Africans by pious missionaries, granted to Africans in the form of colonial medicine, and sustained through the benefaction of foreign agencies like Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF, the Red Cross, and the Gates Foundation. There is not a single modern African medical professional mentioned in the major contemporary accounts of the history of medicine (Porter, 1997; Gonzalez-Crussi, 2007; Bynum, 2008; Duffin, 2008; Manger & Kim, 2018). Worse still, many histories of tropical medicine, which are mostly about campaigns in Africa, also exclude mention of black medical expertise (Delaporte, 1991; Goerg 1997; Cook, 2007). The imbalance of this narrative is so severe that it delegitimizes medical practice as an acceptable form of healing and care in Africa and disables the future work of Africans in the global field of medicine (Fanon 1961; Farmer 2008). As a type of discursive violence, European claims to medical heritage silence the roles, agency and contributions of Africans who have produced, and continue to produce, research on key medical problems.

This conference aims to redress this inequity by recovering the roles that Africans played in the field of medicine during the modern era and into the 21st century. For centuries, Africans have been conducting research on ailments using innovative tools and techniques to produce data on illnesses, and they have also managed medical health care systems and institutions under racialized colonial conditions, and equally challenging neo-colonial situations (Patton, 1996; Oduntan, 2018; Roberts 2021).

We invite all scholars from any career stage, from around the world, interested in speaking to these questions to participate in this conference. We are particularly interested in scholarship that explores interdisciplinary/ methodological approaches that overcome the dominance of Eurocentrism in modern medicine and can thereby recover the roles that Africans played in medical sciences, practice, technology, education, policy, and public health.

Questions that participants may pose include:

  • What roles did people of African descent play in the transition toward modern medicine, in particular the 19thcentury transition to laboratory and scientific medicine?
  • What barriers did people of African descent face when participating in fields of tropical and modern medicine, and how did African and African Diaspora medical professionals overcome them?
  • What might be learned from the biographies of African medical personnel as they responded to racialist exclusion and medical inequalities, and as they developed national health care systems?
  • What medical ideas and innovations can be credited to people of African descent?
  • What are the potentials and constraints of decolonizing the history of modern medicine?
  • How did modern professional medicine become distinct from other healing practices in Africa, and how did it maintain connections to previous healing traditions?
  • Did modern medicine evolve differently in the Diaspora than it did on the continent of Africa? What connections did medical professionals maintain between Africa and the African Diaspora as they evolved, survived, and thrived as medical practitioners?
  • In sum, how might medicine be deracialized and decolonized?

Please send a 200-word abstract of your proposed paper with a brief biography to and by June 15th, 2023. Presentation slots are 15 minutes long, followed by discussion.

A conference volume with selected papers is planned.


Jonathan Roberts (Associate Professor, Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada)
Oluwatoyin Oduntan (Associate Professor, Towson University, USA)

About Us

Decolonizing Medicine in Africa – Call for Papers (Poster)

Decolonzing Medicine in Africa – Call for Papers (PDF)