Jospeh Jakarasi

Joseph Jakarasi

Dr Joseph Jakarasi is a sociocultural historian whose research focuses on the dynamics of health, politics, and social inequality in twentieth-century rural Zimbabwe. His research combines methodological and conceptual approaches from medical anthropology, the anthropology of family and social change, and Global Health, to tell the story of public health and caregiving. His research relies on testimony provided by communities whose experiences and voices are hardly captured in official records. Thus, in his current research program, Dr Jakarasi is exploring  the how rural communities in northeastern Zimbabwe used old traditions and practices of familial and communal caregiving to shape the practices of the regional Catholic-run Marymount Mission hospital.

Dr Jakarasi is currently working on his book manuscript, which builds on his dissertation, to examines non-therapeutic caregiving, an aspect of African healing which has received little scholarly attention. Focusing on the various ways in which rural communities used an old and venerable tradition of caregiving as a collective endeavour to shape the everyday practices of a Catholic hospital during a prolonged war and the HIV-AIDS pandemic, the book demonstrates the indispensability of local histories and cultures for understanding health interventions, even when powerful institutions drive or constrain them. By casting the spotlight on neglected communities and their efforts to engage various threats to health and wellbeing, the book tells a story of health and biomedical intervention in rural Southern Africa that unfolded beyond the bounds of government officials, armed forces, health professionals, and powerful institutions.

Dr Jakarasi completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Zimbabwe in 2013. He then moved to do his MA and PhD degrees at the University of Iowa, United States. 


J Jakarasi and M Nyakudya "Sheriff in the “Club of Dictators”? Robert Mugabe’s Role in the Politics of Southern Africa, 1976-2013” in Sabelo Gatsheni-Ndlovu (eds.) Mugabeism, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2015.

Awards and fellowships      

Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Fellowship, 2019
Laurence Lafore Fellowship – Department of History, University of Iowa, 2017
William O. Aydelotte Dissertation Fellowship, 2017
Graduate Student Senate Supplemental Travel Award for Research, 2017
Graduate College Summer Fellowship, 2017
Graduate College T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2017
Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Award, 2017
Graduate and Professional Student Government College Grant, 2017
Department of History Graduate Fellowship, 2017

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