History of Chagas Disease: Science and Health in Brazil (Bullitt History of Medicine Club)
This lecture will explore the history of Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis), discovered by the physician Carlos Chagas in 1909 in a poor, rural area of Brazil.
The talk will focus on studies and debates on Chagas disease as a medical and social problem connected to poor health conditions of the rural population and considered to be an obstacle to Brazil’s project of modernization. It will also address the controversies about clinical and epidemiological aspects of the disease, in a context of intense nationalism and disagreements about the political meanings of the so-called tropical diseases. This is a case that sheds light on relationships between science, health and society in specific historical contexts.
Simone P. Kropf holds a Ph.D. in history from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, in Brazil, and is a professor at the graduate program of the history of sciences and health at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro. She was a visiting scholar at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) at the University of Michigan 2017-2018. She has written about the history of biomedical sciences in Brazil in the20th century (particularly regarding tropical medicine and Chagas disease); the history of cardiology; and the history of scientific and cultural relations between the United States and Brazil in the 1930s and 1940s.
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