Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Publication Title

Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Volume

35

Issue

69

First Page

93

Last Page

118

DOI

10.1080/08263663.2010.10816989

Abstract

The article explores explores a conjuncture in the emergence of tropical medicine at the end of the 19th century, as it was transformed from a heterogeneous ensemble of multi-sited research endeavours into a unified discourse reproduced within an institutional network of US and British imperial medicine. The effect this had on Latin American-based research into tropical medicine is traced through the case of the Cuban ophthalmologist and medical research entrepreneur, Juan Santos Fernández. Between 1898 and 1900, as the Spanish empire gave way in Cuba to the United States occupation and a neo-colonial future under US tutelage, Santos Fernández abruptly changed his position on a number of key questions in tropical medicine, backing the priority and originality of Carlos Finlay's work on yellow fever and rejecting both the proposition that diseases differed according to race and the idea that there were pathologies specific to the tropics. The article suggests possible connections between this scientific shift and Santos Fernández's political inclinations as a former Autonomist and a Hispanophile.

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