Intersecting Discourses on Tropicality and Disease Causation: Representations of Réunion's Mosquito-borne Epidemics in the Scientific Literature

Intersecting Discourses on Tropicality and Disease Causation: Representations of Réunion's... © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/156853109X436856 Asian Journal of Social Science 37 (2009) 511–531 brill.nl/ajss Intersecting Discourses on Tropicality and Disease Causation: Representations of Réunion’s Mosquito-borne Epidemics in the Scientifi c Literature Philip Weinstein and Srilata Ravi University of Western Australia Abstract In this paper we examine whether discourses of tropicality were aff ected by paradigm shifts in Western thinking about medicine. If tropicalist thinking refl ects latent Western assumptions about the ‘Other’, tropicalism should persist through major shifts in Western thought. Here we explore whether or not such persistence is evident in representations in the scientifi c literature of mosquito-borne diseases on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion and where discrete epidemics occurred before, during and after a paradigm shift in Western thinking about disease causation. Late in the 19th Century, miasma theory (epidemics caused by unhealthy air) was replaced by microbial theory (epidemics caused by transmission of microbes) as the dominant scientifi c understanding of disease causation. We analyse representations of mosquito-borne epidemics in the contemporaneous scientifi c literature about Réunion for evidence of both tropicalism and a shift in the scientifi c paradigm. In pre-microbial representations, the unhealthy tropical environ- ments thought to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Journal of Social Science Brill

Intersecting Discourses on Tropicality and Disease Causation: Representations of Réunion's Mosquito-borne Epidemics in the Scientific Literature

Asian Journal of Social Science, Volume 37 (3): 511 – Jan 1, 2009

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2009 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1568-4849
eISSN
1568-5314
D.O.I.
10.1163/156853109X436856
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/156853109X436856 Asian Journal of Social Science 37 (2009) 511–531 brill.nl/ajss Intersecting Discourses on Tropicality and Disease Causation: Representations of Réunion’s Mosquito-borne Epidemics in the Scientifi c Literature Philip Weinstein and Srilata Ravi University of Western Australia Abstract In this paper we examine whether discourses of tropicality were aff ected by paradigm shifts in Western thinking about medicine. If tropicalist thinking refl ects latent Western assumptions about the ‘Other’, tropicalism should persist through major shifts in Western thought. Here we explore whether or not such persistence is evident in representations in the scientifi c literature of mosquito-borne diseases on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion and where discrete epidemics occurred before, during and after a paradigm shift in Western thinking about disease causation. Late in the 19th Century, miasma theory (epidemics caused by unhealthy air) was replaced by microbial theory (epidemics caused by transmission of microbes) as the dominant scientifi c understanding of disease causation. We analyse representations of mosquito-borne epidemics in the contemporaneous scientifi c literature about Réunion for evidence of both tropicalism and a shift in the scientifi c paradigm. In pre-microbial representations, the unhealthy tropical environ- ments thought to

Journal

Asian Journal of Social ScienceBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2009

Keywords: OTHERING; EPIDEMICS; MOSQUITO; RÉUNION ISLAND; TROPICALITY

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