Malaria and the War beyond the Western Front
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Who this event is for
Glass Tank, Abercrombie, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site
Public Lecture with Professor Mark Harrison, Director of the Wellcome
Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford
This lecture will examine the British
Army’s fight against one of its most implacable foes – the mosquito. In most theatres apart from the Western
Front, malaria was an enormous drain on morale and military efficiency. It was by no means the only disease that led
to heavy losses in theatres such as Salonika and the Middle East, but, along
with venereal disease, it proved to be one of the most intractable. Wartime conditions worsened what was already,
in many locations, an unfavourable situation as far as health was concerned.
Preventive measures proved ill equipped to deal with these conditions,
especially when troops were on the move.
All armies suffered badly but ideas of racial immunity to malaria were
used to justify the replacement of white troops in some theatres with ‘native’
troops from Britain’s imperial territories.
This raised political tensions in territories such as India. The lecture will also consider the legacy of
the war. The influx of many foreign
troops, the destruction of infrastructure, and population displacement had a
deep and enduring impact on the health of civilians.
About the speaker
Mark Harrison is Professor of the
History of Medicine and Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of
Medicine at the University of Oxford. He
has written on many aspects of the history of disease and medicine in relation
to war and imperialism. His books
include The Medical War: British Military Medicine in the First World War
(2010) and Medicine and Victory: British Military Medicine in the Second World
War (2005), both of which won the Templer Medal Book Prize awarded by the
Society for Army Historical Research. He
currently holds a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award entitled, ‘Invisible
Crises, Forgotten Histories: Malaria in Asia, 1900-Present’.
For further information, please
contact: Tudor Georgescu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This seminar is organized in
collaboration with The
Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum and the Centre
for Medical Humanities