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Africa and the Cattle Without History

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Peer-reviewed

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Article

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Authors

Brown, Tad 

Abstract

The premise of this article is that African historiography has yet to embrace the genetic basis of cattle tolerance to tsetse-borne trypanosomiasis due to the literature’s emphasis on human illness and landscape modification. By the early 1980s, empirical research indicated that N’Dama cattle possessed a tolerance to the disease that was heritable and, as such, could be strengthened through breeding. The Gambia’s first president, who was a former veterinary surgeon, contributed to the breed’s reappraisal. In exploring this history, I show how an international scientific network positioned The Gambia as a supplier of N’Dama breeding stock for livestock developments in sub-Saharan Africa. My argument is that research on cattle genetics has theoretical consequences for writing about the history of African tsetse ecosystems.

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Journal Title

Global Environment

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Journal ISSN

2053-7352

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Publisher

White Horse Press

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Sponsorship
Wellcome Trust (217968/Z/19/Z)
National Science Foundation