WEBINAR: Malaria, Museum Things and Climate Change. Environmental Lunchtime Discussion

How can material approaches contribute new insights on the history and present of infectious diseases in a climate perspective? Senior curator and historian Ageliki Lefkaditou will explore the case of malaria with the help of a series of museum objects being prepared for display in an exhibition on climate change.

illustration, people, walking, gear, suitcases, commission

Photo: Three members of the Roman Campagne Malaria Commission with a lady carrying their gear. Coloured pen drawing by A. Terzi, ca 1900; Wellcome Library.

Much like climate crisis, infectious diseases are extremely complex and multifaceted biocultural phenomena and impact the most vulnerable among us. After centuries of fighting malaria, it remains one of the most severe public health problems mainly affecting people in poor tropical and subtropical areas where the disease is widespread. It is transmitted by mosquitoes infected by malaria parasites and kills disproportionally children, pregnant women and people without immunity. There is no reliable vaccine available and the costs for those affected are often unbearable. Scarce resources and socio-economic instability hinder control while climate change scenarios point to an increase in incidents.

By putting the museum objects in the centre of our discussion as matters of concern, the aim is to find ways to approach an issue that is often difficult to even know where to begin with. This material perspective will provide us with small narrative bites, pieces of knowledge that will open up for bigger discussions on the profound implications of climate change for human health and health practices, a topic that is unfortunately of extreme contemporary relevance.


Ageliki Lefkaditou is a senior curator at Norsk Teknisk Museum and a historian of science and medicine. She is currently working with an exhibition on climate crisis. Ageliki is also writing on the history of anthropology with special focus on the interactions between science, society and culture, especially with regards to national and colonial politics.


About the event series

The OSEH Environmental Lunchtime Discussion series consists of short, 10-15 minute presentations by invited guests, followed by a discussion. We invite speakers from a wide variety of fields, both academic and beyond. The presentations are accessible and are aimed at anyone with an interest in environmental issues. All are welcome.

Tags: Environmental Humanities, HF, IKOS, OSEH, Museums and Museology, Climate Change
Published Apr. 29, 2020 5:13 PM - Last modified May 4, 2020 11:44 AM