Postcolonial Therapeutics: an ethnography of care and rehabilitation in Guadeloupe

Raphaƫlle Rabanes
UC Berkeley

How does history mark bodies, practices, and relationships, in health care and beyond? What do bodies say, and what do they express of the politics and poetics of life for Diasporic subjects? How does the experience of rehabilitation speak to what it means to live with history in Guadeloupe today? Through an ethnographic study of the experience of rehabilitation, my dissertation explores what it means to learn to speak, walk, or remember again in the aftermath of colonialism. The work of rehabilitation, the trial and error, the falling and pushing through, week after week, in the context of a crumbling hospital, can be seen as an experimentation in how to rebuild life after a catastrophe. My dissertation argues that the physical and psychic working of the rehabilitation for health workers and patients can be understood as a quotidian exploration of how to repair oneself in a postcolonial context.