photo of author
People

Edna Bonhomme

Postdoctoral Fellow (Aug 2017-Dec 2020)

PhD

Edna Bonhomme earned her PhD in History of Science at Princeton University. Her doctoral research, “Plague Bodies and Spaces: Medicine, Trade, and Death in Ottoman Egypt, 1705–1830 CE,” examined the ways that North African port cities not only functioned as liminal spaces for trade, but were also laboratory spaces for trade and imperialism. During her PhD studies, she was a lecturer at Drexel University in Philadelphia where she taught courses on the intersections between race, colonialism, and cinema. She was awarded the Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (2012/2014), the Princeton Center for African American Studies Dissertation Research Fellowship (2013), and a New York Public Library Research Scholar. 

Edna is currently completing her manuscript Ports and Pestilence, which traces epidemics, public health, and scientific practice in Alexandria, Tripoli and Tunis. Her new project critically interrogates epidemics, surveillance data, and climate change in the 20th century, especially the ways that knowledge is represented and embodied in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Using North Africa and the Middle East as a case study, she goes to show how categories of disease and data collection are linked to postcolonial conceptualizations of health and power produce new bionic beings. Since becoming a Postdoctoral Fellow at MPIWG, Edna has been a lecturer in global histories of the subaltern at the Humboldt University in Berlin for the “Diversities of Knowledge Programme,” an initiative that encourages innovative teaching as well as Bard College Berlin where she taught a course on science and colonialism.

Edna’s work engages with digital humanities and critical media through various collaborative projects and performances. In 2020, Edna Bonhomme and Nnenna Onuoha premiered their exhibition “Cartographies of Care,” which charted the experience of African diasporic health in Berlin within and outside the German healthcare system. By engaging with the five senses, the visual artists showed how these people found solace and restoration in Black healing: Cartographies of Care – alpha nova & galerie futura. In 2018, she was co-awarded a grant by the Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs (Austrian Association of Women Artists) to curate and produce critical media for “Scan the Difference: Gender, Surveillance, and Bodies” which was exhibited in Vienna, Austria. Moreover, she has engaged in various performance lectures including “Technologies of the Body” in Prague, Czech Republic and “Reparative Archaeologies” in Berlin, Germany.

At the MPIWG, she was the co-organizer for the “Critical Global History of Medicine” (2017–2019) and she is currently a co-organizer for the “Troubling the Epistemes and Postcolonialism” reading group (2019–Present). Edna has also co-organized a conference, “Power in Medicine” with the MPIWG through a joint partnership with EUME. Moreover, she co-created the podcast, “Decolonization in Action,” which explores the term “decolonial” and how it gets applied today by artists, researchers, and scientists. In addition to her academic and creative publications, she has written about surveillance, feminism, and the African diaspora for publications such as Africa is a Country, Analyses & Kritik, Contretemps Revue de Critique Communiste, Der Freitag, Mada Masr, and The Nation.

 

Selected Publications


Review of Ruha Benjamin, Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2019), Radical Philosophy Review. August 2020. 

“ When Africa was a German laboratory | Europe | Al Jazeera, October 2020. 

Covid Threatens to Worsen Disparities in Maternal and Reproductive Care | The Nation, October 2020. 

How the myth of Black hyper-fertility harms us | US & Canada | Al Jazeera,” August 2020. 

Embracing Intersectionality in the Age of Bad Data – Environmental History Now, July 2020. 

Review of Joel Cabrita, The People's Zion: Southern Africa, the United States, and a Transatlantic Faith-Healing Movement. H-Socialisms, H-Net Reviews. October, 2019. 

Current Projects

Decolonization in Action
more
Mapping Epidemics
more

Completed Projects

No completed projects were found for this scholar.

Events

Reading Group

Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Reading Group

Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Reading Group

POSTPONED: Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Reading Group

POSTPONED: Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Reading Group

Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Reading Group

Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Early Career Seminar

Calendrical Reform and Functionalism: Engagement of Mathematical Astronomers in Executive Practices in the Early Islamic Period

MORE
Reading Group

Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Early Career Seminar

A Physicist Road to Emergence: A Revisited Story of “More Is Different”

MORE
Reading Group

Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Early Career Seminar

Animal Matter: Meat, Slaughterhouses, and Animals in Rio de Janeiro, the Capital City from the Brazilian Empire

MORE
Reading Group

Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Early Career Seminar

Leibniz, Crafft, and the Episode of the Phosphorus

MORE
Reading Group

Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Reading Group

Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

MORE
Workshop

Power in Medicine: Interrogating the Place of Medical Knowledge in the Modern Middle East

MORE

News & Press

Postdoctoral Fellow Edna Bonhomme publishes article in Al Jazeera.

More

Postdoctoral Fellow Edna Bonhomme in Analyse & Kritik on the cholera epidemic in Yemen

More

Postdoctoral Fellow Edna Bonhomme Selected for Austrian Association of Women Artists (VBKÖ) Program

More