Principle Investigator

Professor Christos Lynteris, Professor of Medical Anthropology, Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews

Christos Lynteris is a medical anthropologist. His research focuses on the anthropological and historical examination of epidemics, zoonosis, epidemiological epistemology, medical visual culture, colonial medicine, and epidemics as events posing an existential risk to humanity. For the project he will examine the global development of scientific, laboratory and field studies of the rat as a disease host or vector. His research will explore the global production and exchange of rat-related scientific research through which he will seek to understand how the rat was transformed into an epistemic object for epidemiology and how this process led to ways of knowing animal-to-human infection, and to the emergence and consolidation of the epistemic field of zoonosis.

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Dr Jules Skotnes-Brown, Research Fellow, Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews (2020-2025)

Jules Skotnes-Brown is a historian of science with interests in histories of animals, disease, knowledge production, and colonialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For the project, he will be writing a multi-sited history of rodent-proofing in India, California, South Africa, Argentina, and Australia. His research will explore how the efforts of humans to exclude disease-carrying and food-devouring rodents from spaces of human occupation brought disparate regions and peoples together. Through examining five sites of pestilence – homes, farms, cities, ecosystems, and oceanic trade networks – he will chart how and why town-infesting, countryside-dwelling, and seafaring rodents have become despised “enemies” of humankind, and what their mobilities and spatial behaviour reveal about the histories of zoonosis and species invasiveness.

Dr Matheus Alves Duarte da Silva, Research Fellow, Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews (2020-2025)

Matheus Duarte holds a Ph.D. in History of Science and his main research interests lay on the intersection of History of Science and Global History. For the project, he will be working on the social and scientific histories of rat-catching practices. He will author a book focused, on the one hand, on the construction of the rat as both a universal object and a universal problem, and, on the other hand, on the limits of this universalistic approach. He will follow this process first by the study of breakthrough campaigns of rat-catching in Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, and Paris. Second, he will exam the relationship of those campaigns with debates occurring in international arenas, such as the first sanitary conferences dealing with the plague at the turn of the 20th century, the Office d’Hygiène Publique and the two Conferences Internationales du Rat, which were held in 1928 and 1931 with the goal to declare a universal war against the rat.

PhD Student

Mr Oliver M. French, Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews (2020-2024)

Research Assistant

Ms Teresa Maria Abaurrea, Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews (2019-2020)

Project Administrator

Sarah Frankowski, School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies