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PhD project: The sale and use of Jamaican roots tonics: Health sovereignty in the Black Atlantic
Jason Irving's research explores the contemporary and historical trade in medicinal plants between Jamaica and the UK. It focuses on the concept of health sovereignty, analysing the role the continuing use of herbal medicines in Jamaica during periods of slavery, colonialism and independence has played in contributing to a sense of autonomy in relation to health and the environment.
Jason situates the use of medicinal plants within the construction of 'scientific' vs 'traditional' knowledge in historical botanical bioprospecting and the later division of 'conventional' vs 'alternative' medicine. He will deconstruct these dichotomies by placing knowledge of medicinal plants within the wider epistemicides of colonialism, which created hierarchies of knowledge linked to the hierarchies of race, class and gender.
Jason will focus on the preparation, sale and use of Jamaican roots tonics and bitters as a case study to explore the politics of continuing to use medicinal plants during successive migrations to and from Jamaica.
ESRC SeNSS 1+3