Emerging knowledge in a scientific project about Lassa Fever (LAROCS)
Almudena Mari Saez
Paper short abstract:
This paper describes novel modes of anthropological engagement into the variable intersections between people, animals and environments that create the conditions for transmission of Lassa Fever in West Africa.
Paper long abstract:
Lassa, a Viral Haemorragic Fever spread by the commensal rat, Mastomys natalensis, effects western African differentiated areas: Mango river belt: Sierra Leona, Guinea and Liberia; and Nigeria. While less virulent than the higher profile VHFs Marburg or Ebola, because it is endemic in populations, Lassa Fever has the highest morality rate of 5-10.000 cases per year. Drawing upon my ongoing involvement in an interdisciplinary project on Lassa fever (LAROCS) which aims to intervene to reduce the spread of this virus from rats to humans, this proposal elaborates the methodological and theoretical potential of different forms of collaboration that are involved in this project; epidemiology, rodent ecology, virology and anthropology. The paper will focus upon distinct dimensions of that engagement: between the natural and social scientists involved in the project; between scientists, other fieldworkers and participants; and exploring the theoretical potentials of anthropology, in particular, the study of material cultures and multispecies relations, mediating those interchanges. At this early stage, we are exploring, the theoretical potential of these diverse collaborations for anthropology, in a number of ways; for example to return to the classical anthropological interest in the domestic and public, and the division between the 'domestic' and 'wild' in a society of hunters, and to push forward more recent debates around multiple ontologies and multispecies ethnography.
Ethnography as collaboration/experiment