The Medical and the Anti-Modern: Horse-and-Buggy Mennonite Migrants and Medicine in Latin America


  • Royden Loewen University of Winnipeg



How did migrants from “old” societies negotiate their “new worlds”? How did they make the move from simple to complex societies, from village culture to urban society, from folk medicine to modern, state-sanctioned medicine? In this essay, I explore the question of medicine and social boundaries in an instance in which this trajectory of the primitive-to-the-modern has been complicated. It considers the medical history within a recent set of migrations that aimed to distance a people from modernity rather than integrate them into it. It argues that although the lure of modern medicine to any immigrant is relentless, the relationship of this medicine and the immigrant is also always a contested exchange.





Themed section: The Historical Borderlands of Health and Mobility