By Helen Tilley
Tropical Africa was once one of many final areas of the realm to event formal eu colonialism, a method that coincided with the appearance of various new clinical specialties and examine equipment. Africa as a dwelling Laboratory is a far-reaching examine of the thorny courting among imperialism and the function of medical expertise—environmental, scientific, racial, and anthropological—in the colonization of British Africa.
A key resource for Helen Tilley’s research is the African learn Survey, a venture undertaken within the Thirties to discover how glossy technology used to be being utilized to African difficulties. This venture either embraced and steered an interdisciplinary method of examine on Africa that, Tilley argues, underscored the heterogeneity of African environments and the interrelations one of the difficulties being studied. whereas the purpose of British colonialists was once undoubtedly to rework and modernize Africa, their efforts, Tilley contends, have been frequently by surprise subverted by way of medical matters with the neighborhood and vernacular. Meticulously researched and gracefully argued, Africa as a residing Laboratory transforms our knowing of imperial background, colonial improvement, and the position technology performed in both.
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Extra resources for Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950
Deﬁned in this way, interventions, including development projects, are part of an ongoing process of knowledge formation and reproduction. ”52 Yet they were states of a particular kind, legally subordinate on the international stage and dependent on imperial authority for their governance. The seven European powers then active in Africa—Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Italy—faced a range of similar problems: how to pacify populations and quell resistance; how to deal with slavery and labor questions; how to incorporate people and land into new modes of production; how to accommodate different kinds of legal frameworks; how to develop state infrastructures; and how to stem epidemics, control diseases, and improve health.
The evidence demonstrates the opposite: real ﬁssures about race existed both within colonial states and among scientiﬁc specialists. This had as much to do with the goals of colonial practices and policies, which focused on liberal and economic transformations in the name of development, as it did with changing assumptions within scientiﬁc disciplines and societies. Nor can we say that almost all scientiﬁc efforts were imbued with racial assumptions and leave it at that. In fact, by the early twentieth century scientists and politicians involved in imperial affairs were beginning to challenge racial categories more systematically, with policy makers expressing concerns about racial bias, antipathy, hatred, and prejudice and scientists challenging race as a conceptual system for differentiating among human groups.
This destructive reinforcing loop is the subject of chapter four. In much the same way that the intensiﬁed colonization of India in the ﬁrst half of the nineteenth century led to outbreaks of cholera, an infectious disease that was then little known, the scramble for Africa touched off epidemics of sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis), the etiology of which was still barely understood. Europeans’ fear that the disease might spread beyond the bounds of the continent and their recognition that its animal variants in cattle and game prevented much of equatorial Africa from being fully developed made African trypanosomiasis a cause célèbre at the turn of the twentieth century.
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