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Crocodiles, Tigers and Bacilli: Exoticism and Bacteriology around 1900

Tuesday 26 November 2013, 6.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Christoph Gradmann, University of Oslo, Norway

An audio recording of this event is now available. Please press 'play' on the media bar below (apologies: no video available).


Part of a series featuring lectures by world-leading historians of medicine, hosted by the Centre for Global Health Histories.

Christoph Gradmann Public Lecture Flyer

"This lecture explores the idea that thinking about tropical flora and fauna played an interesting role in the work of the German medical bacteriologist Robert Koch (1843-1910). His view of tropical nature as being fertile and dangerous made it a congenial image of his ideas of the relations between men and microbes as they could be studied under the microscope. Travel reports, letters or diaries are the type of texts where we would find mostly rather casual remarks on the dangerousness of tropical nature. Trivial as they often were such observations on all the dangers lurking in tropical nature nonetheless had an important function. Linking medical bacteriology to the imagined tropics of exoticism they provided an experimental science with an important ingredient, namely plausibility".

Large version of the event poster: Christoph Gradmann Public Lecture Poster (PDF , 618kb)


Event Images: A crocodile emerging from the sea, Wellcome Library, London. Bacilli, Wellcome Library, London. Tiger etching by T. Landseer, Wellcome Library, London.

Location: Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, University of York

Admission: Free admission - all are welcome

Email: cghh@york.ac.uk