Bodies and Ecologies: Histories of Health, Environment, and Medicine in Latin America and the Caribbean
As agents and objects of environmental change, bodies reflect our complicated relationship with nature. From polluted waterways and airborne toxins to aguas negras and salmonella outbreaks, our health and bodies are inseparable from the world around us. Now more than ever, the links between bodies (human and animal), pathogens, and ecologies are ubiquitous and ripe for historicization.
These themes run throughout Latin American and Caribbean history and society, linking nations, regions, and cultures in the past and present. The colonial legacies of such extractive industries as mining, monoculture, and animal production have spoiled water sources, deforested diverse biomes, and eroded topsoil in ways that have undermined public health. In turn, climatic changes have increased drought, wrought more powerful hurricanes, and expanded flooding zones. All have catalyzed microbial militaries that wreak havoc even after initial devastations subside. These disasters have compelled millions of Latin Americans to leave their homeland and seek refuge in other nations, while migrant laborers living and working in compromised conditions have been susceptible to disease. Water has also long been a site of struggle amongst marginalized communities, scientific and governmental authorities, multinational capitalists, and international philanthropies.
Located at the intersection of the burgeoning fields of environmental history, the history of the body, and the history of medicine, this series encourages and celebrates historians’ growing interest in people’s health and the resources, climates, and technologies that shape it. We invite projects on a variety of topics, including (but not limited to) environmental policy, urban and rural development, agriculture and water, public health policy and activism, biomedical and popular medicine, disease and epidemics, disability and the body, race and the racialization of medicine and the environment, and science and technology.