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LACS Lecture. Who owns mosquitoes? Decolonizing public health in the Caribbean

Adriana Garriga-López, associate professor and chair of anthropology and sociology, Kalamazoo College

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Since the outbreak of Zika virus began in 2014, many efforts have been carried out to control, reduce, and/or attempt to eliminate mosquito populations in the Caribbean. These efforts have been stymied largely by the fact that Aedes Aegypti, which is the mosquito that also transmits the Dengue and Chinkungunya viruses, is endemic to all of Central America and the Caribbean. Zika has also revived many of the early debates and problems faced by scientists and health care providers during the early days of the HIV epidemic due to the initially largely unknown dynamics of Zika syndrome and the discovery that it can be transmitted sexually. This rare combination of sexual transmission and transmission by mosquito has produced new articulations of social and medical power that build on the long history of epidemics in the Caribbean, as well as the manifold imperial projects devised to control contagious disease in the tropics. How can we account for both human and non-human action in these novel articulations of health and empire? Who has the right to intervene in mosquito and human populations and on what basis should they do so? This talk will address these questions by inquiring into the process through which Zika virus became endemic to the region, and how state, community, and global forms of power organized themselves in response to the viral threat posed by these mosquitoes.

Cosponsors: Department of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health, Department of American Culture, and Latina/o Studies Program
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When and Where

Map Weiser Hall - Room 455

October 2017

3:00pm - 4:30pm

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