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© Research
Publication : Parassitologia

Entomology in translation: interpreting French medical entomological knowledge in colonial Mali

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Parassitologia - 01 Dec 2008

Giles-Vernick T

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 20055237

Parassitologia 2008 Dec;50(3-4):281-90

This essay examines how knowledge and practices around entomology and parasitology travelled and the consequences of their mobility. In exploring three anti-malaria campaigns in French Soudan before 1960, it argues that the history of medical entomology’s travels entailed multiple temporal, spatial, social translations that African medical personnel, intellectuals, healers, and farmers in French Soudan reinterpreted, appropriated, and sometimes wholly rejected. This essay also focuses on “erroneous” translations, detailing how and why middle class medical personnel and intellectuals interpreted and reformulated farmers’ and healers’ diagnostic categories that may or may not be malaria. Anti-mosquito and antilarval interventions, and more generally anti-malaria interventions, influenced how African colonial subjects and health workers understood certain vectors and of certain maladies. These understandings, in turn, shaped the consequences of subsequent public health measures. Histories of translated parasitological and entomological knowledge and etiologies of illness have critical implications for contemporary malaria control efforts: interventions to reduce malaria transmission through various kinds of entomological controls that require active participation of local populations cannot be effective if all participants cannot agree upon what is being controlled or prevented.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20055237