Article ID: CBB598371014

"An Unusual and Fast Disappearing Opportunity": Infectious Disease, Indigenous Populations, and New Biomedical Knowledge in Amazonia, 1960–1970 (2017)


In the twentieth century, biomedical researchers believed the study of Indigenous Amazonians could inform global histories of human biological diversity. This paper examines the similarities and differences of two approaches to this mid-century biomedical research, comparing the work of virologist and epidemiologist Francis Black with human geneticists James V. Neel and Francisco Salzano. While both groups were interested in Indigenous populations as representatives of the past, their perspectives on epidemics diverged. For Black, outbreaks of infectious diseases were central to his methodological and theoretical interests; for Neel and Salzano, epidemics could potentially compromise the epistemological value of their data.

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Authors & Contributors
Ortega Martos, Antonio Miguel
Garnelo, Luiza
Alves, José Jerônimo de Alencar
Chambouleyron, Rafael
Bombardi, Fernanda Aires
Barbosa, Benedito Costa
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Health and History
HOST: Journal of History of Science and Technology
Social Studies of Science
Berghahn Books
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
Rutgers University
University of Utah Press
Thames & Hudson
The University of North Carolina Press
Indigenous peoples; indigeneity
Medicine, traditional
Science and race
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Disease and diseases
Wallace, Alfred Russel
Chagas, Carlos
Andrade, Mário de
Spruce, Richard
Bates, Henry Walter
Schultes, Richard Evans
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
17th century
18th century
20th century, late
Amazon River Region (South America)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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