Martha Few’s study of colonial Guatemala joins a growing body of works (including those by Paul Ramírez on New Spain and Adam Warren on Peru) that recast the history of Spanish American medicine, reaching for more diverse contexts and more nuanced treatments of epistemology. Tate Lanning’s classic works on the medical profession are an acknowledged departure point, but the canvas here is broader, encompassing Amerindian forms of knowledge and complexities of gender and race that lay beyond Lanning’s scope. At the heart of Few’s study, alluded to by the title, is a contradiction: elite Guatemalan doctors imagined their ambitious forays into Enlightenment medicine as a service to “all of humanity,” but their practices both derived from an elitist vision of society and manifested in ways that coerced as well as served, intruded, and injected as much as aided or assisted. This Enlightenment is not Lanning’s, wherein the bright lights of...
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Book Review| July 01 2019
For All of Humanity: Mesoamerican and Colonial Medicine in Enlightenment Guatemala
For All of Humanity: Mesoamerican and Colonial Medicine in Enlightenment Guatemala. By Few, Martha. (
University of Arizona Press,
2015. x + 292 pp., introduction, figures, maps, bibliography, index. $34.95 paperback).
Ethnohistory (2019) 66 (3): 618–619.
Sylvia Sellers-García; For All of Humanity: Mesoamerican and Colonial Medicine in Enlightenment Guatemala. Ethnohistory 1 July 2019; 66 (3): 618–619. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-7518138
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