Cover: The Colonial Politics of Global Health: France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa, from Harvard University PressCover: The Colonial Politics of Global Health in HARDCOVER

The Colonial Politics of Global Health

France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa

Add to Cart

Product Details


$51.50 • £41.95 • €46.50

ISBN 9780674980488

Publication Date: 09/10/2018


272 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

10 photos, 2 tables


[A] probing account… Focusing on the area of public health, Pearson shows that France sought to reap the benefits of the World Health Organization’s operations in Africa, even as it pursued its own health-care policies in its colonies. France’s efforts, Pearson argues, succeeded in maintaining French influence over UN policies in West Africa even after the country’s former colonies had won their independence.—Nicolas van de Walle, Foreign Affairs

Shows how the World Health Organization’s origins and development in Africa and the politics of the postwar period of decolonization were intimately intertwined.—Laura Jane McGough, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Pearson’s deeply researched and elegantly written book demonstrates that international organizations played a defining role in reshaping empire in the postwar period. Her work compellingly argues that the United Nations and the World Health Organization provided templates for universal rights and health for all, even colonial subjects. The Colonial Politics of Global Health will be an invaluable addition to our understanding of the French Empire, decolonization, and global health initiatives.—Jennifer Johnson, Brown University

A smart, persuasive study of one of the most influential chapters in the history of twentieth-century Africa. This impressive work poses an intriguing question: how did imperial powers in sub-Saharan Africa interact with new international humanitarian organizations providing oversight of colonial governance after World War II? Pearson is to be commended for taking on such a challenging topic and for telling a fascinating, human story in such an accessible way.—Alice L. Conklin, The Ohio State University

An important, thought-provoking book that uses global health as a prism through which to understand tensions between colonial powers and international organizations like the World Health Organization in late colonial Africa. Pearson skillfully shows how decolonization converged with a wide array of attempts to stem disease made by French doctors, colonial officials, and world health representatives in Africa.—Nancy Rose Hunt, University of Michigan

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene