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The Trouble with Malaria in Africa

Seminar Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

James L. A. Webb, Jr.

Professor and Director, African Studies, Colby College

The President's Malaria Initiative, the Global Fund, and the Gates Foundation are currently funding an ambitious program of malaria reduction with a long-term goal of eradicating the disease in Africa. In the 1950s and 1960s, the World Health Organization, as part of its malaria eradication program (1955-1969), undertook a series of pilot projects to develop protocols to eradicate malaria in tropical Africa. The projects encountered a spate of difficulties that were unable to be surmounted.

What can the study of antimalaria campaigns in the past tell us about the present? In what ways has the malaria problem itself changed over time? In what ways can the fields of historical epidemiology and global health history improve the practice of public health?


Jim Webb is a pioneer in the field of historical epidemiology. His work integrates approaches from the biological sciences and the social sciences to produce perspectives that are useful to historians, practitioners, and planners in the field of global public health. He is the founding editor of two book series at the Ohio University Press: Perspectives on Global Health and the Series in Ecology and History. He is currently writing a book on the history of malarial infections and interventions in tropical Africa.

Assigned Reading

James Webb, Jr., Humanity’s Burden: A Global History of Malaria (Cambridge University Press: New York, 2009).


A reception will be held at 5pm at the UNE Art Gallery


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4335

6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public