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Helen Tilley
"The Scramble for Africa, Racial Acclimatization, and Scientific Investigations of African Disease Environments, 1880-1920"

What effect did the “Scramble for Africa” have on scientific debates and research priorities in Britain and its empire? And how did perceptions of African disease environments (medical geography) change in the early decades of the twentieth century? This paper offers preliminary answers to both questions through an examination of three inter-related developments. It begins by mapping out the nature of scientific preoccupations relating to Africa leading up to and immediately following the Berlin Congress of 1885. It then moves to explore the consolidation of interest in racial acclimatization in tropical Africa, including the question of whether large numbers of Europeans and South Asians could permanently settle there. Finally, the paper turns to consider the effects that the outbreak of sleeping sickness epidemics (1896-1914) had both on scientific research and on imperial attitudes and policies. This paper is part of a larger project that examines the dynamic interplay between science and empire in tropical Africa between 1860 and 1960.

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Last updated 4/6/05 by Selene Platt