Thesis ID: CBB001560693

Borderlands of Research: Medicine, Empire, and Sleeping Sickness in East Africa, 1902--1914 (2012)


Webel, Mari K. (Author)

Columbia University
Mann, Gregory

Publication Date: 2012
Edition Details: Advisor: Mann, Gregory
Physical Details: 306 pp.
Language: English

This dissertation is a history of sleeping sickness research work and prevention programs during the German colonial period in East Africa, focusing on the regions around Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. It examines efforts to study and prevent sleeping sickness, analyzing how both fit into the social, political, and economic dynamics of African life. It covers two phases of German colonial attention to epidemic sleeping sickness between 1902 and 1914: an initial phase of research and scientific expeditions from 1902 to 1906, then a period dominated by the introduction of disease prevention measures in affected areas from 1907 to 1914. Highlighting the local complexity and far-reaching impact of sleeping sickness, I show that sleeping sickness research and prevention emerged from the intersection of tropical medicine expertise, African mobility, and German colonial and African politics. Sleeping sickness, and subsequent efforts toward its treatment and prevention, redefined the boundaries of political power and social influence within African communities during a crucial period of change in the region. By creating new arenas of engagement between African communities and European scientists, specifically in newly-built sleeping sickness camps and among the African medical auxiliaries employed in them, sleeping sickness work created economic relationships, reshaped social and political hierarchies, and set new ground rules for African agriculture and trade. Kings, chiefs, and colonial scientists contended with African communities' demands for treatment, their resistance to examination, and their claims on the use of land and waterways. Further, inter-colonial sleeping sickness research and subsequent prevention programs played a pivotal role in the development of tropical medicine, strengthening disciplinary boundaries and defining the trajectory of future research. My work weaves together narratives of research and disease prevention from metropolitan Europe and East Africa, in contrast to strictly colonial and national histories of health and medicine that have preceded it.


Description “A history of sleeping sickness research work and prevention programs during the German colonial period in East Africa.” (from the abstract) Cited in ProQuest Diss. & Thes. . ProQuest Doc. ID 925788156.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Mari K. Webel; (2019)
The Politics of Disease Control: Sleeping Sickness in Eastern Africa, 1890–1920 (/isis/citation/CBB175864050/) unapi

Chapter Sunseri, Thaddeus; (2005)
Forestry and the German Imperial Imagination: Conflicts over Forest Use in German East Africa (/isis/citation/CBB000770229/) unapi

Article Bhattacharya, Nandini; (2011)
The Logic of Location: Malaria Research in Colonial India, Darjeeling and Duars, 1900--30 (/isis/citation/CBB001230155/) unapi

Book Crozier, Anna; (2007)
Practising Colonial Medicine: The Colonial Medical Service in British East Africa (/isis/citation/CBB000830503/) unapi

Article Sunseri, Thaddeus; (2003)
Reinterpreting a Colonial Rebellion: Forestry and Social Control in German East Africa, 1874--1915 (/isis/citation/CBB000650977/) unapi

Book Alan I. Marcus; (2018)
Malignant Growth: Creating the Modern Cancer Research Establishment, 1875–1915 (/isis/citation/CBB026111848/) unapi

Book Gachelin, Gabriel; (2006)
Les organismes modèles dans la recherche médicale (/isis/citation/CBB000772827/) unapi

Chapter Klöppel, Ulrike; (2008)
French and German Diphtheria Serum Research and the Reconfiguration of Cultural Boundaries (/isis/citation/CBB001221037/) unapi

Article Carter, K. Codell; (2001)
Edwin Klebs's Grundversuche (/isis/citation/CBB000100886/) unapi

Book Weiner, Jonathan; (2004)
His Brother's Keeper: A Story from the Edge of Medicine (/isis/citation/CBB000470028/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Sunseri, Thaddeus
Webel, Mari K.
Carter, Kay Codell
Haynes, D. M.
Bruchhausen, Walter
Weiner, Jonathan
Social History of Medicine
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
Environmental History
Comparative Studies in Society and History
Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan
Presses Universitaires de France
I. B. Tauris
University of Alabama Press
Ohio University Press
Disease and diseases
Trypanosomiasis, African
Germany, colonies
Klebs, Edwin Theodore Albrecht
Weule, Karl
Ehrlich, Paul
Koch, Robert
Jamot, Eugene
East Africa
Tanzania (Tanganyika, Zanzibar)
London (England)
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
American Cancer Society

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment