chapter  3
Too bold, too hot
Crossing “culture” in AIDS prevention in Nepal
ByStacy Leigh Pigg
Pages 23

Charles Leslie’s insistence that medical systems in Asia must be understood as dynamic products of history led to an analysis of the professionalization of Ayurveda in India that showed how claims about knowledge were situated within struggles over colonialism, nationalism, and modernization in India. This vision first spawned important work on medical pluralism and the dynamic of “conflict and accommodation between [Asian medical] traditions and the world system of cosmopolitan medicine” (Leslie and Young 1992: 7; see also Leslie 1976). Now, as the era of overt colonial domination, underpinned by self-confident ideologies of progress and civilizing missions, shades into an era of international development that is grounded in planning rationality in the name of social welfare, it is harder to separate what were previously conceptualized as endogenous and exogenous forces. Yet Leslie’s insight that medical practices themselves are not the only thing at stake in discussions of illness remains key for research on medical cosmopolitanism.