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Medical Revolutionaries

Herbalists, diviners, nurses, midwives, and veterinary practitioners flourished in the medical world of eighteenth-century Saint Domingue. Using Western, African, and Caribbean remedies, they treated the maladies of slaves, white residents, and animals. While these enslaved medical practitioners were an important part of the plantation economy and colonial prosperity, they ultimately roused their fellow slaves to rebel against and overthrow French rule. Karol K. Weaver's Medical Revolutionaries asserts that understanding the origins of the Haitian Revolution--one of the most important political events of its time--requires understanding the role of these healers in inspiring and actually leading the overthrow. Weaver explains that the enslaved healers emerged as significant leaders of slave communities through a process of cultural retention, assimilation, and creation. The healers profited economically from their practices and used their position to conceive and implement an ideology of resistance via the destruction of human and animal life, occupational sabotage, and terrorism.
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How slave healers inspired the Haitian Revolution, toppled the slave system, and led to the loss of France's most productive New World colony

About the Author

Karol Weaver is an assistant professor of American history and the history of medicine at Susquehanna University.


"This slim volume manages to touch on a wide range of fascinating topics: creole medical cultures, the impact of slavery, the relationship between medicine and power, gender, the legacy of colonial medicine in contemporary Haiti, and even historical memory. The book is thus worthy of attention for the important questions it raises and vistas it reveals for studying medical cultures in a place shaped by Atlantic world events and peoples." - Katherine Arner, H-LatAm, October 2012

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