University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

History of Science and Technology/Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science Colloquium

Friday, October 12th 2018
Speaker: Susan Jones, Program in History of Science; Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior - University of Minnesota
Subject: "The Homelands of the Plague: Soviet Disease Ecology in Central Asia, 1920s–1950s"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

This presentation analyzes the development of an important Russian/Soviet school of "disease ecology" at the intersection of human medicine, veterinary medicine, and ecological fieldwork. Part of a larger study in progress, I will argue that (1) Russian/Soviet disease ecology arose within the development of 'frontier' settler societies and (2) although entanglements with the dynamic Soviet political system directly affected scientists' work and ideas, analysis of their local activities in the borderlands demonstrates a surprising independence and autonomy. I conclude by discussing how collaboration between graduate students in the history of science, technology, and medicine, scientists, and informants in Kazakhstan have been essential to this historical project.

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