Article ID: CBB424150261

The Products of Experiment: Changing Conceptions of Difference in the History of Tuberculosis in East Africa, 1920s–1970s (2018)


This paper uses articles from the East African Medical Journal to trace medical authorities’ changing conceptions of East Africa’s tuberculosis problem from the 1920s through the 1970s. In the early decades of this colonial publication, contributors identified racial susceptibility as the source of East Africa’s rising tuberculosis rates. After the British Medical Research Council began collaborating on anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy experiments in the region around mid-century, contributors identified economic scarcity—specifically a lack of medical resources—as the root of East Africa’s tuberculosis problem. In reducing economic scarcity to an experimental variable, researchers construed East Africa and the developing world as naturally ‘resource poor’. At the same time, they used this identity as a backdrop for finding new chemotherapy regimens (six-month short-course chemotherapy) that worked even in low-income settings. Biomedical experiments and technologies, this paper argues, shaped and were shaped by conceptions of East African difference.

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Authors & Contributors
Bruchhausen, Walter
Roelcke, Volker
Benedek, Thomas G.
Sunseri, Thaddeus
Walker, Alan
Jackson, Lynette A.
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Pharmacy in History
Environmental History
Ethnohistory: Journal of the American Society for Ethnohistory
Technology and Culture
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Cornell University Press
University of North Carolina Press
Bloomsbury Academic
Boston University
Manchester University Press
Medicine and race
Disease and diseases
Ehrlich, Paul
East Africa
United States
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
18th century
21st century
World Health Organization (WHO)

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