History professor Bill McCoy has had a paper entitled “Leprosy, Piety, Identity: The Mbuluzi Leprosy Hospital as Informal Pilgrimage Site, 1948-1982” accepted for publication in Edinburgh University’s journal, Studies in World Christianity. The article will appear in the April 2014 issue, devoted to the theme: “Health, Healing, and Medicine in the History of Christian Missions and World Christianity.” This was the theme of the June, 2013 meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity, where Prof. McCoy also presented the paper, which stems from his ongoing dissertation research into the history of leprosy care in the southern African country of Swaziland.
Prof. McCoy reports, “It’s a bit unusual to find a conference that aligns so closely with one’s personal field of study, and I was honored by the warm reception that the paper received. It was also exciting to be presenting one of two papers on Nazarene medical missions at the conference, as good friend of the department, Daryl Ireland, was also presenting a paper on Nazarene medical work in China. This was entertaining for the novelty of it, of course, but it was also a good reminder of the growing interest in the academy in the history of lesser known, evangelical missions, which have been overlooked in the past.”
Professor McCoy also attended the 18th International Leprosy Congress in Brussles, Belgium, and was invited to present his paper, entitled “We Are Thrown Away: The Language of Leprosy and the Founding of the Ncabaneni Leprosy Settlement in Swaziland.” Professor McCoy also participated in a small ceremony during the Wednesday morning plenary session, commemorating the lives of people who had fought to protect the rights of people affected by leprosy around the world.