(St. Andrews University)
Races, environments, and civilizations: the limits of universal microbiology during the plague pandemic in Brazil and in India (1894-1922)
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Matheus Duarte holds a Ph.D. in History of Science and his main research interests lay on the intersection of History of Science and Global History. He is now a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of St Andrews within the project ‘The Global War against the Rat and the Epistemic Emergence of Zoonosis’, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust. He will be investigating both the social and scientific history of rat-catching practices developed in Brazil, the USA, and in the French and British Empires during the first half of the 20th century. Matheus completed his thesis at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) with the title « Quand la peste connectait le monde : production et circulation de savoirs microbiologiques entre Brésil, Inde et France (1894-1922) ». Grounded on the approach of a micro-global history of science, Matheus’ Ph.D. thesis focused on how three concrete promises of microbiology – sera, vaccines and sanitary interventions – were constructed, negotiated, evaluated and criticized, in the first decades of the third plague pandemic. Following people, texts and objects as they circulated between Brazil, India and France, Matheus’s thesis questioned established interpretations on the history of microbiology and showed that, on the fight against the plague, microbiology became, for the first time, a global construction thanks to the emergence of new centres of knowledge based in the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Mumbai.