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Rubber and the Making of VietnamAn Ecological History, 1897-1975$
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Michitake Aso

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469637150

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469637150.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 04 April 2020

Turning Tropical

Turning Tropical

Chapter:
(p.130) Chapter Four Turning Tropical
Source:
Rubber and the Making of Vietnam
Author(s):

Michitake Aso

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469637150.003.0005

Rubber plantations necessitated extensive medical studies of human biology and diseases. Researchers at the Pasteur Institute carried out numerous studies of mosquitoes and plasmodia, and to a lesser extent other pathogens, among plantation workers. Race served as an important analytic category for these researchers even as anthropologists were beginning to question the coherence of racial categories. Chapter 4 investigates the racialized society that the architects of industrial agriculture imagined they were creating. It also discusses the interactions in Indochina between the burgeoning tropical sciences and government and transnational capital, focusing on human disease environments to examine how “rubber science” was applied to the surrounding countryside. If plantations were microcosms of the global colonial society, they were also laboratories where solutions to colonial problems were worked out. Tropical agronomy, geography, and medicine, linked by an ecological view of climates and soils, helped naturalize racial distinctions for the colonizers. Yet the colonial subjects who were the targets of these projects did not act in ways that race makers expected. While these subjects could not control the discourse of race, they could appropriate it for their own ends, and they attempted to do so before the outbreak of World War II.

Keywords:   ecology, environmental health, French Indochina, knowledge production, malaria, mosquito, nationalism, race, tropical geography, tropical medicine

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