Kalala Ngalamulume, History/Africana Studies: Colonial Pathologies, Environment and Western Medicine in Saint-Louis-du-Senegal, 1867-1920

Posted November 7th, 2012 at 2:19 pm.

New York: Peter Lang, October 2012.

Focusing on yellow fever, cholera, and plague epidemics as well as on sanitation in the context of urban growth in Saint-Louis-du-Senegal between 1867 and 1920, this book explores how the French colonial and medical authorities responded to the emergence and re-emergence of deadly epidemic diseases and environmental contamination. Official reactions ranged from blaming the Africans and the tropical climate to the imposition of urban residential segregation and strictly enforced furloughs of civil servants and European troops. Drastic and disruptive sanitary measures led to a conflict between the interests of competing conceptions of public health and those of commerce, civil liberties, and popular culture. This book also examines the effort undertaken by the colonizer to make Senegal a healthy colony and Saint-Louis the healthiest port-city/capital through better hygiene, building codes, vector control, and the construction of waterworks and a sewerage system. The author offers insight into the urban processes and daily life in a colonial city during the formative years of the French empire in West Africa.

“This is a history of epidemic disease and the struggle against it in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Saint-Louis, the capital of Senegal. It is a major contribution to both medical and colonial history.” -Martin Klein, Professor Emeritus, History Department, University of Toronto

“Kalala Ngalamulume sheds a spotlight on several cultural worlds (nineteenth-century French colonial, Muslim, and traditional Senegalese) brought together in the health and society of Saint-Louis, an old and influential town near the mouth of the Senegal River. Long the capital of French exploration and then administration, it was also the destination of numerous migrants from all over the Senegalo-Mauritanian zone. By examining crises of cholera, yellow fever, and other emergencies, Ngalamulume shows competing understandings and behaviors and takes us far beneath the traditional evenementiel accounts that have dominated the literature.” -David Robinson, Distinguished University Professor, Michigan State University


Introduction: Setting, Themes, and Conceptual Perspectives 1
1. The Making of a Colonial City 16
2. The “White Man’s Disease”: The Great Yellow Fever Epidemics, 1867-1900 50
3. The “Black Man’s Disease”: Cholera and Social Inequality, 1868-1899 88
4. A Conflict of Interests Among Commerce, Competing Conceptions of Public Health, and Civil Liberties, 1882-1901 120
5. The Scientific Missions to Senegal and Brazil and the New Paradigm, 1901-1912 164
6. Plague and Violence in Saint-Louis-du-Senegal, 1917-1920 185
Conclusion 208
Sources 211
Index 231

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