"Making a Portuguese-Language Herbal Speak: 'Local' Knowledge and the East India Company on the Malabar Coast in the 18th Century"
European knowledge, especially medicine, is usually presented as being "scientific" as opposed to the "empirical", non-theorised, "local" practices of non-European peoples. It is thus a commonplace amongst historians to consider that the former displaced the latter if not into total oblivion at least into marginality during the course of European expansion and colonisation. Preliminary research on a mid-18th Portuguese-language century herbal and pharmacopeia from the Malabar coast allows us to examine this widely-held assumption and helps throw new light on the interaction between European and "local" medical practices as well as on the languages through which they they circulated and interacted with each other. Finally, this research also contributes significantly to our understanding of the commercial, administrative and diplomatic practices of the English and other European East India Companies on the Malabar coast during this period.
In recent debates about the post-liberalization achievements, failures, and future directions of the Indian economy, the choices before the Indian state and electorate have been cast as the "Gujarat versus Kerala" models. This discourse partakes of a long-standing construction of Kerala's development trajectory, often called "the Kerala Model", as one pole in "growth versus redistribution" policy arguments. This model came into being in the mid-1970s, linking the region to the international development apparatus, just as the transformations we currently associate with "neoliberalism" were taking shape. What was this "model" an alternative to in the mid-1970s? What is it an alternative to now? This paper addresses these questions as part of a larger exploration of our understandings of gender, development and neoliberalism.