Sanitizing the State: The Yellow Fever Campaign in Veracruz

Dr. Andrew Wood
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By the end of 1924, Mexican public health officials in conjunction with agents from the Rockefeller Foundation International Health Board had waged a successful campaign to eliminate yellow fever in Veracruz. This achievement represented no small feat as the disease, along with smallpox, cholera and other viral invaders, had plagued the population of the Mexican Gulf Coast for more than four centuries. Not surprisingly, more recent interpretations of the Rockefeller Foundation’s activities in Mexico by some historians have considered the yellow fever campaign as part of a larger imperial effort designed to shape the development of public health in Mexico. While these largely post-dependency theory characterizations are generally correct, the following essay which examines diaries and personal correspondence of North American doctors stationed in Veracruz during the Yellow Fever Campaign argues that charges of U.S. neo-colonialism in matters of public health have been exaggerated.

Keywords: Yellow Fever, Mexico, Veracruz, Public Health History, Neocolonialism
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Andrew Wood

Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Tulsa
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Andrew G. Wood is associate professor of history at the University of Tulsa. He is author of "Revolution in the Street: Women, Workers and Urban Protest in Veracruz, 1870-1927," (SR Books 2004) and editor of "On the Border: Society and Culture between the United States and Mexico," (SR Books 2004). He is co-editor of a forthcoming volume on the history of tourism in Mexico and has published and also produced a documentary film on the celebration of Carnival in the Port of Veracruz, Mexico. He is presently finishing a study of Mexican popular musician Agustin Lara.

Ref: I07P0744