Ecologies of complexity: Tropical environments, African trypanosomiasis, and the science of disease control in British colonial Africa, 1900-1940.

Helen Tilley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tropical Africa was one of the last regions of the world to experience formal European colonialism, a process that coincided with the advent of a range of new scientific specialties and research methods. The history of British attempts to understand and control African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in cattle), following the intense human epidemics that broke out between 1895 and 1910, reveals hitherto ignored scientific research in the fields of ecology, epidemiology, and tropical medicine that helped produce a new understanding of the "ecology of disease." Often generated within a transnational and inter-disciplinary context, this knowledge increasingly assumed that vector-borne diseases in tropical environments were highly complex, dynamic, and interrelated phenomena. Thus while many people continued to hope that trypanosomiasis could be eradicated, research results made this prospect seem unlikely, if not impossible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-38
Number of pages18
JournalOsiris
Volume19
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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