Fighting Disease in the Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Slave Trade

Presented by Columbia University’s Department of History

September 30, 2020 | 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

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Manuel Barcia (University of Leeds) with Professor Christopher L. Brown and Grant Kleiser

A pathbreaking history of how participants in the slave trade influenced the growth and dissemination of medical knowledge, The Yellow Demon of Fever (Yale University Press, 2020) examines how, as the slave trade brought Europeans, Africans, and Americans into contact, diseases were traded along with human lives. Manuel Barcia examines the battle waged against disease, where traders fought against loss of profits while enslaved Africans fought for survival. Although efforts to control disease and stop epidemics from spreading brought little success, the medical knowledge generated by people on both sides of the conflict contributed to momentous change in the medical cultures of the Atlantic World. 

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