The 'Other' Disease. Tuberculosis in the (Post-) Colonial Context

Kehr, Janina (2015). The 'Other' Disease. Tuberculosis in the (Post-) Colonial Context. Books and Ideas La Vie des Idees

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“Tuberculosis as an agent traverses history and human bodies, taking hold in some and leaving others in a contingent historical progression.” [1] With these words, Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Starr described the uneven distribution of tuberculosis among peoples across time, 15 years ago. In his brand-new book on this “ancient disease” (p.10) - Discovering Tuberculosis. A Global History, 1900 to the Present - Christian McMillen investigates how the uneven distribution of tuberculosis has been scientifically problematised and addressed during the last 100 years in Africa, the Americas, and India, with questionable success. McMillen’s guiding question throughout the book is the following: “why can’t we control TB” (p.2)? He answers it through a detailed history of failure and historical amnesia, by showing that the history of tuberculosis is in fact not marching “progressively onwards”, but that it is “an example of regression” (p.226). Throughout his book, McMillen thus demonstrates that TB has never been under control in the long 20th century, at least not in the developing world, despite on-going epidemiological, medical, pharmaceutical and policy attempts to do only this: get it under control, find its causes, treat those sickened by it, impede its transmission.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Kehr, Janina


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




La Vie des Idees




Lisa Alvarado Grefa

Date Deposited:

03 Dec 2018 11:56

Last Modified:

03 Dec 2018 11:56

Additional Information:

online Publikation


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