Brazilian scientists visit the Amazon: the scientific journeys of Oswaldo Cruz and Carlos Chagas (1910-13)

The article analyzes reports from two scientific journeys into the Amazon conducted by the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, in 1910 and 1913, under the leadership of Oswaldo Cruz and Carlos Chagas, respectively. These reports contributed to the construction of representations and images of the region. Field observations not only provided data for the study and control of tropical diseases but also had a hand in the movement to denounce the serious sanitation conditions under which rubber workers labored. Journeys through the Amazon valley put the scientists in direct contact with the environment and with sick populations; these travels also made them face the huge challenges of learning about malaria and trying to control it. Analyses of these reports are part of studies on 'portraits of Brazil', which raise issues within the history of public health policies. In this endeavor to reveal the process by which scientific records are constructed, we worked with primary sources, from manuscripts to official texts.

Amazon; Brazil; scientific journeys; medical reports; sanitation


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