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Internationalism and Health. LECTURE. Science, Medicine and Transnationalism. Aaron Pascal Mauck MA, PhD. 2/26/2013. DATE. LECTURER. Course Business Political Foundations of Transnational Science Transnational Health in Europe Transnational Health in the Americas.

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internationalism and health
Internationalism and Health


Science, Medicine and Transnationalism

Aaron Pascal Mauck MA, PhD





Course Business

Political Foundations of Transnational Science

Transnational Health in Europe

Transnational Health in the Americas


Political Foundations of Transnational Science

  • Transnationalism has its Twentieth Century origins in Progressivism
  • The idea of a transnational science suggests that scientists and science operate
  • outside national borders, and that the benefits of science are universally shared
  • In efforts to control global disease, transnationalism signals a shift
  • from the nineteenth century protection of national borders through quarantine
  • and surveillance to a recognition that many diseases are borderless.
  • Progressivism and tropical medicine
  • Have much in common:
  • Faith in Science
  • Creating new kinds of expertise
  • Importance of rational administration
  • Greater role for governments
  • Universality of problems and solutions

Transnationalism in Europe: LNHO

Scientific enthusiasm for transnationalism

was tempered by political realities.

Conservative political turn after 1918

In many countries signals end of

Progressive politics- return of market-driven

and nation-centered policies.

International cooperation remains limited

Despite LON: Isolationism in US and

Tensions between France and Germany

Control of VD constitutes a collective goal in the twenties and thirties, but

International cooperation in standard-setting remains due to tensions

between France & Germany & the North America & Europe

Emergence of competing diagnostic standards: Wassermann test in Europe

(created 1906) and Kahn Test in North America (created in 1925)


Transnationalism in Europe: Pasteur Institutes I

1888: First Institute is established in Paris

With the goal of spreading knowledge

about the control and treatment of infectious

disease through Germ Theory

Initial institutional focus on rabies inoculation,

smallpox vaccination, and diphtheria antitoxin.

Spread of institutes to other countries reflected

The spread of expertise in treating these


Administering Rabies Inoculation

By 1914, Pasteur Institutes had spread to several countries, but had different

goals and lacked a coherent vision of science, save for a commitment to

collaboration and possibly an affinity for French Science


Transnationalism in Europe: Pasteur Institutes II

After 1918, the Paris Pasteur Institute reasserts

control over the other institutes, promoting

“scientific imperialism” rooted in a French vision

of science

Ban on German Science & scientists upheld by

The Pasteur Institutes

1921-1926 attempt at collaboration between

The Institute and the RF fails largely due to

The unwillingness of the institute to share control

or compromise on its vision


“If French reigns over boundless regions, if epidemics are prevented or thwarted,

if sanitary reforms can be undertaken, cities built up, harbors opened to trade,

If Europeans can live safely in hostile Africa or the Far East, if morbidity and

Mortality decrease in a striking way for native populations, all these transformations

Must be attributed to colonial medicine.”

Louis-Pasteur Vallery-Radot, 1938


Transnationalism in the Americas: The Rockefeller Foundation

  • The RF initially focuses on education, institutional development, and disease
  • Eradication. Disease eradication serves the triple goal of improved health,
  • development, and political rationalization
  • The RF chooses eradication campaigns based on the viability of the targets:
  • Hookworm, Yellow Fever, and Malaria all thought to be well-understood
  • And easily controlled
  • Eradication efforts predicated on an alignment of goals between the RF and
  • National governments:
  • Tool for administrative centralization
  • Tool for nation-building
  • Tool for local and international economic development
  • Tool for national & RF propaganda

Transnationalism in the Americas: Hookworm in Mexico

Veracruz region becomes site of hookworm

Eradication efforts throughout the 20s & 30s

Work predicated on alignment of RF goal of

Illustrating Efficacy of eradication and National goals

of Quelling political unrest in the region by providing

Key services, and entrenching state power

Initial focus on treatment and limited concern for

Infrastructure reflects immediate political realities.

As political unrest dissipates in the 30s, emphasis

Shifts to infrastructure and education

RF Latrine Construction Project

The explicit goal of Americanization emerges at the RF in part through contact with

non-democratic regimes, where public health measures can serve as a tool

For the promotion of pro-democratic ideology

While Hookworm initially serves as a demonstration tool for what the RF might do

In the future for other diseases , it eventually becomes explanation for poor

health and poverty in the Region.



The Interwar Years (1919-1938) witnessed the rise of new transnational

Scientific aspirations, rooted in the Progressive political project, and linked to

Goals like economic development and the promotion of a perpetual peace.

In the areas of disease research and eradication, transnational projects

entailed coordination between private foundations (Pasteur Institute,

Rockefeller Foundation) and national governments.

Transnational science was often employed in the service of national goals:

Rationalization of state administration, entrenchment of state power,

Encouragement of state-supported industries.

Transnational science was also subject to international pressures:

Competition between different models of scientific research or public health

Intervention, disagreements between old enemy states

Thus, transnational science remained more a goal than a reality as it pertained

to the universally shared goals of disease control and eradication