The Writing of Malaria, 1865-1935


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


English & Comparative Literature


This dissertation traces the use of literary rhetoric in the development of tropical medicine from 1865-1935. It argues that the growth of tropical medicine was facilitated by the rise of specific genres of scientific writing, namely the scientific article, the medical report, and the public health pamphlet. Colonial specialists of the tropics used these genres to write more “scientifically” and maintain objectivity when describing human and geographic difference. Yet their writing on Equatorial Africa continued to reveal a disciplinary disorder. Malaria, in particular, demanded the use of literary scene, image, and a metaphor for the classification of African space, warm ecologies, and native children. The result is a corpus—malaria literature—that this project defines and examines to show how medical specialists and their literary contemporaries shaped malaria research, control and eradication