Of Flies and Men: Global Insect Vector Control Regimes, 1960s-1980s

This study addresses the global spread of disease vector control regimes, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) sent scientists and experts to remote areas in Africa, the Americas, and Asia to study and transfer methods of combating insect vectors of diseases in developing countries. In doing so, they attempted to develop a distinctive environmental approach to control vector-borne diseases in the emerging Global South, and to apply this approach across contexts. This study takes as its particular subject of inquiry the circulation of knowledge between malaria and river blindness campaigns and hence the various attempts to control anopheles and black flies by techniques such as large-scale spraying of pesticides, water management and bush clearing. Local contingencies as well as the implementation of environmental protection measures gradually re-casted medical development policies. I investigate this transformation by drawing on processes in decolonizing areas in Africa and underdeveloped areas in the Americas. Tracing what has been called in an imperial context the “selective bricolage” (Ann Stoler) of ideas and practices, I will focus on understudied but fertile spatial, temporal, and epistemological connections and exchanges.

Project leader(s):
Dr. Sarah Ehlers


Project type:
["Postdoc-Projekt \/ Post Doc Project"]

Funding institution: