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What is the relationship between Christianity, ‘sorcery’ and Western medicine in the South Pacific? Given the current upsurge of violence against accused-sorcerers throughout Melanesia, this question is relevant in today’s world. Dr Daniel Midena examines the historical encounter between modern medicine and ‘sorcery’, with assistance from the biography of Edwin Tscharke (1918-2000), a medical missionary in New Guinea in the late twentieth century. Tscharke was one of the most influential medical missionaries in the Pacific since 1945, devoting considerable energy to thinking and writing about how to disabuse locals of their belief in ‘sorcery’. Leaving his home in South Australia, he established a mission hospital and medical training facilities on Karkar Island. 

Sr. Mesha Garrett, Dr Theo Braun (Supt of Lutheran ...), between 1950-1977, Papers of Edwin G. Tscharke, MS 9067, Series 6, Box 26, nla.obj-1420385. 

Dr Daniel Midena is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland specialising in the history of European missionaries, anthropologists, and legal systems within German and British colonies (New Guinea, Fiji, New Hebrides/Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Dr Daniel Midena is a 2019 National Library of Australia Fellow, generously supported by the Stokes Family.

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