In recent years, Latin American history has been awash in an exciting wave of scholarship on the history of science and medicine. Historians are exploring Latin American reactions to foreign medical, sanitary and scientific missions; the creation of national research institutions; the impact of epidemics on conceptions of urban space, politics and social control; the role of indigenous and folk cures in modern public health campaigns; and the relation of transnational eugenics movements to national anxieties about race, among other fertile topics. Pioneering medical historian Marcos Cueto dubs this focus “scientific excellence on the periphery”—the idea that surprising avenues of research and innovation occurred in societies generally deemed “underdeveloped,” especially in modern scientific activities and outlooks.
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