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Colonial Pathologies, Environment, and Western Medicine in Saint-Louis-du-Senegal, 1867-1920

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Kalala Ngalamulume

Focusing on yellow fever, cholera, and plague epidemics as well as on sanitation in the context of urban growth in Saint-Louis-du-Senegal between 1867 and 1920, this book explores how the French colonial and medical authorities responded to the emergence and re-emergence of deadly epidemic diseases and environmental contamination. Official reactions ranged from blaming the Africans and the tropical climate to the imposition of urban residential segregation and strictly enforced furloughs of civil servants and European troops. Drastic and disruptive sanitary measures led to a conflict between the interests of competing conceptions of public health and those of commerce, civil liberties, and popular culture. This book also examines the effort undertaken by the colonizer to make Senegal a healthy colony and Saint-Louis the healthiest port-city/capital through better hygiene, building codes, vector control, and the construction of waterworks and a sewerage system. The author offers insight into the urban processes and daily life in a colonial city during the formative years of the French empire in West Africa.