Translating South Asian classical medicine for global audiences: science, patent law, and language

Image of Caucasian looking woman in bikini being massaged by South Asian looking woman in sari

Event details


Date & time

Wednesday 19 August 2015


RegNet Meeting Room, Level 3, Coombs Extension, Building #8, ANU
ANU Canberra


Allison Fish


Emma Larking
+61 (0)2 6125 1513

In 2001 the Indian central government initiated the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library: a project that aims to use “technology to fill the gaps in intellectual property law” that allow the piracy of South Asian classical medicine.

In this informal seminar, Allison explores the impetus behind the Digital Library, as well as the specific translational structure of this online archive as it pertains to both Ayurveda and Yoga. She is interested in understanding how particular acts come to be perceived of as permissible and well-justified appropriations of South Asian culture, whereas others are deemed unethical.

Allison also asks what social processes are at play that allow certain corporate actors (e.g., the Indian state) to be recognized as legitimate authors and holders of proprietary interests in South Asian classical medicine, whereas, others (e.g., private individuals and entities) are labeled as cultural pirates?

About the Speaker

Allison Fish is an assistant professor of Informatics at Indiana University Bloomington. She obtained a PhD in anthropology and has advanced degrees in law and public administration. Her core research uses ethnographic methodologies to investigate the cultural logics, legal forms, and technological infrastructures that guide knowledge management practices. To date she has worked primarily in the United States and India.

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