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2014 Abstracts

Brazilian malariology in international context, 1850-1950

Tyson Amundsen, University of Utah


The focus of my research was to create a database of the various people, institutions, and funding agencies that constituted the discursive community of malaria specialists in Brazil—the network responsible for producing and distributing medical knowledge there from 1850-2012. This database will be used to chart trends in Brazilian research and publishing activities, Brazilian participation in international conferences, the reception of Brazilian research abroad, and Brazilian engagement with the work of foreign researchers.

Dr. Hugh Cagle will incorporate this research into a project on the history of Brazilian malariology. As the study of malaria in Brazil has grown in scope and importance, its findings have begun to challenge widely held assumptions about the origins, spread, and speciation of malarial parasites. This research emphasis distinguishes malariology in Brazil from its counterparts in North America and Europe, where studies focus primarily on the treatment and prevention of one species of malaria alone (p. falciparum) in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our database reveals the beginnings of a framework initiated in the mid-nineteenth century that set the trajectory for malariology in Brazil for the next century. Brazilian researchers attempted to address both public health concerns and individual medical needs. They did not, however, command international respect and appear to have been only loosely integrated into emergent transnational malaria research networks. Perhaps due to these circumstances, the questions asked by Brazilian researchers began to diverge from those of their European counterparts. At the same time Brazilians remained interested in the work of their colleagues and seem to have selectively incorporated foreign findings into their own publications. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Brazilian medical journals featured the research of British and German scholars in particular. Preliminary findings suggest a complex intellectual and clinical relationship emerged between Brazilian malariologists and their European colleagues.