South Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Nature Cure and Embodied Environmentalism: An Ecological “Remedy” for the Anthropocene and its Discontents

Friday, July 6
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Juniper, New Building

Nature Cure, which involves the exclusive therapeutic use of earth, air, sunlight and water for the treatment of all health problems, emerged in late 19th century central Europe as a radical critique of deteriorating urban public health, and as a reactionary response to the perceived complicity of biomedicine in this process, as biomedicine was becoming increasingly industrialized, pharmaceuticalized and otherwise disciplined by science.  Nature Cure – known as Prakrtic Chikitsa -- was popularized in India in the early 20th century as a mode of public health reform and anti-colonial medicine based on principles of self-healing and a distinctively elemental theory of human nature.  Involving steam chambers, colon hydrators, solariums, pressure showers and mechanized baths for the treatment of everything from asthmas to zoonotic parasites, Nature Cure can be understood as a deeply conflicted, logically compromised project.  Insofar as “nature” is culturally constructed as the antithesis of culture, Nature Cure, as a commercialized form of medicine, can be criticized as not just blind to its own “perversity,” but as ineffective, duplicitous quackery.   However, if we broaden the framework of critical contextualization, accepting the fact that industrialization, urbanization and biomedicine articulate their own forms of anthropocentric hubris; their own deeply imbedded duplicities and perversely contrived dualisms, we can understand Nature Cure as a mode of fraught, fetishized, embodied ecological practice.  As such, Prakrtic Chikitsa embraces the contradictions and paradoxes of deep humanism, as these contradictions and paradoxes plague Indian modernity.

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1 - Nature Cure and Embodied Environmentalism: An Ecological “Remedy” for the Anthropocene and its Discontents



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Send Email for Nature Cure and Embodied Environmentalism: An Ecological “Remedy” for the Anthropocene and its Discontents