Crossing Physical and Conceptual Boundaries in Human and Animal Health

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This paper explores interlinked concepts of boundaries, agency and mobility in relation to rodents and their predators in 1920s-30s South Africa. Taking agency as an actors’ category, it argues that against the backdrop of a series of bubonic plague outbreaks, the crossing of supposedly wild rodents into domestic spaces upset ethological understandings of their behaviour. In response, rat catchers and epidemiologists initiated a regime of surveillance and warfare against “veld rodents”, in which lessons in rodent-detection and destruction were drawn from carnivores such as the yellow mongoose. Carnivora thus shaped the production of knowledge about rats as information travelled between animal and human.
Period17 Jan 2020
Event titleMedEnv: Intersections of Medical and Environmental Humanities Network: Workshop 1: Animals and Health.
Event typeConference
LocationLiverpool, United KingdomShow on map