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Bulletin of the History of Medicine ; 96(2):272-274, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2320495


Set in the twenty-first century, The Last Man was an apocalyptic story of a pandemic spreading around the world, causing the near elimination of the human population, almost literally to the last person standing. The links between public health and military medicine at this time are well-known and exemplified by Edmund Parkes's Manual of Practical Hygiene (1864). The claim that such literature had a "broader reach” in spreading the martial metaphor in medicine is questionable, without more evidence of impact.

Br J Hist Sci ; : 1-25, 2022 Jan 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1788253


In this article, I explore how the twin forces of imperial and entomological power allowed Britain to shape locust research and control across Africa, the Middle East and South Asia from the 1920s to the early 1950s. Imperial power came from the size of the formal and informal empire, and alliances with other colonial powers to tackle a common threat to agriculture and trade. Entomological authority came primarily from the work of Boris Uvarov and his small team of museum and fieldworkers based at the Imperial Bureau of Entomology (IBE), later the Imperial Institute of Entomology (IIE). I begin by discussing how Uvarov's phase theory of the origin of swarming changed the prospects for the control of locust plagues. The imperial gaze and networks of the IBE and IIE were suited to a problem that was transnational and transcontinental. In the 1930s, Britain was drawn into plans for international cooperation on locust organizations that met the needs of science, to give better sharing of knowledge, and the needs for science, to secure the resources for research and control. However, such organizations were only created during the Second World War, when new plagues threatened military operations, as I show in relation to the measures taken to control the red locust and desert locust. In the final section, I follow the fate of the wartime cooperation in initiatives to establish permanent control organizations. It is a story of the decline of British political power in locust affairs as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and regional agencies took over. My account of British locust research and control reveals a neglected aspect of histories of entomology and imperial/colonial science, especially their international relations and the continuing importance of metropolitan research centres.