Call for participation: Public Health, Medicine and Migrations

April 2015 


Immigrants queuing at Ellis Island, circa 1900. Photograph: Bettman/Corbis

The symposium “Public Health, Medicine and Migrations: the control of populations and borders in a historical perspective in Americas” aims to discuss the problem of diseases’ classification and population’s categorization by medicine, using as motto the mobility and control of some social groups through the national territory and borders.

Setting up immigrants, for example, was a issue that in the West world became part of the national building configuration. The rules of reception and exclusion of foreign population are considered as a central part of the bureaucracy sanitary and national security institutions, as the sanitary services in ports, the police, or the diplomacy in order to the regulate the relationship between states, not only for trade but also to forbid the entrance of poor, sick and “criminal” people. Or even those who most likely could become a burden to the state or could be dangerous according to national security.

In the Americas between the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, the problem of reception and management of population has been discussed by the historiography as a inseparable process of public health policies, which was also responsible for the state authorities’ growth in the country.

We  are interested in discussing the population’s categorization and classification through medical theories; the social polices that were created to control some groups; the national building on the basis of different ways to understand the experience with diseases; the relationship between history, health, illness and nation; the predisposition of some groups to contract or transmit infection diseases. This debate has as a basis the race conceptions and the national identity; including and excluding strategies of individuals inside the societies from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

We intend a debate, which will promote theoretical and conceptual reasoning in these interdependent fields. We also have the intention of making a publication with selected papers.

If you are interested in participating, please send your name, institutional affiliation and a provisional paper title to Fernanda Rebelo-Pinto ( and Maria Fernanda Vásquez ( by April 25, 2016. An abstract will be needed by November 1, 2016 and to be sent to the same e-mail addresses.

Read more:

Website of the  25º International Congress of History of Science and Technology

Related articles in HCS-Manguinhos:

Caponi, Sandra. Sobre la aclimatación: Boudin y la geografía médica. Mar 2007, vol.14, no.1

Caponi, Sandra. La generación espontánea y la preocupación higienista por la diseminación de los gérmenes. Dic 2002, vol.9, no.3


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