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The Medicine Chest

The virus (dormant)



The virus (dormant)

Is Part Of

Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research
Special Collections


"When it (the chest) is not being exhibited in the Iziko South African Museum, it lives in the archives of the University of Cape Town. As part of an institution that has sworn dedication to decolonising its curriculum, it poses a somewhat latent threat. In a speech in 2015, the writer and previous vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Professor Njabulo Ndebele, stated "that there can be no transformation of the curriculum, or indeed of knowledge itself, without an interrogation of archive". It is an argument which strongly suggests that a critical assessment of the archival legacy on which the institution is founded becomes of pivotal importance when developing a decolonial institution.

What worth then, if any, does this dormant object serve in a new curriculum?"

Extract from a paper delivered at the BSHS conference in Cambridge, 2019


Date Created



Diagnosing a medicine chest: exploring the potential of scientific object collections. Conference paper. British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference. Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge. 10-12 April 2019.


Conference paper


Nina Liebenberg
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