Networks in Tropical Medicine: Internationalism, Colonialism, and the Rise of a Medical Specialty, 1890–1930
Networks in Tropical Medicine explores how European doctors and scientists worked together across borders to establish the new field of tropical medicine in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book shows that this transnational collaboration in a context of European colonialism, scientific discovery, and internationalism shaped the character of the new medical specialty. Even in an era of intense competition among European states, practitioners of tropical medicine created a transnational scientific community through which they influenced each other and the health care that was introduced to the tropical world. One of the most important developments in the shaping of tropical medicine as a specialty was the major sleeping sickness epidemic that spread across sub-Saharan Africa at the turn of the century. The book describes how scientists and doctors collaborated across borders to control, contain, and find a treatment for the disease. It demonstrates that these medical specialists’ shared notions of “Europeanness,” rooted in common beliefs about scientific, technological, and racial superiority, led them to establish a colonial medical practice in Africa that sometimes oppressed the same people it was created to help.