Mapping Hot Spots: ‘One Health’ and the History of Infectious Disease Research

“Mapping Hot Spots” is a thematic cluster funded by the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies and coordinated by Tony Goldberg (Pathobiological Sciences), Neil Kodesh (History), and Josh Garoon (Community and Environmental Sociology).  The goal of our cluster is to develop an interdisciplinary program that bridges the biological and biomedical sciences, humanities, and social sciences to examine questions about the historical constitution and mapping of disease “hot spots,” and the relationship between these processes and the “One Health” paradigm currently promoted by the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and a range of other global health and development agencies. To this end, we are working to establish a novel collaborative infrastructure on the UW-Madison campus for exploring how science, history, society, and culture intersect in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere to establish and perpetuate modern, place-bound concepts of health and disease, and their ecological linkages.  Our thematic cluster provides a historical and sociological framework for understanding contemporary scientific research, and it strives to inform ecological understandings of the ways in which past experiences with disease and disease interventions influence the present.

An Update on “Mapping Hot Spots: ‘One Health’ and the History of Infectious Disease Research in Uganda”


With the support of the Holtz Center, in 2016-17 we ran a year-long “One Health Workshop” that brought in external guest scholars with expertise in a range of disciplines linked to “One Health.”

September 29 | 4:00 pm | 1335 Health Sciences Learning Center
Rob Wallace
Are Ebola and ‘One Health’ approach in cahoots? 

October 27 | 12:00 pm | 1010 Medical Sciences Center
J. Stephen Morrison, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Post-Obama, what might U.S. policy towards Africa and global health look like?

March 8 | 12:00 pm | 206 Ingraham Hall
James Fairhead, University of Sussex
The Cryptic origins of Ebola in West Africa : science and narratives of spillover in Meliandou
Fairhead’s presentation will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Jens Kuhn and James Pettitt from the NIH Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

March 29 | 12:00 pm | 206 Ingraham Hall
Guilluame Lachenal, Université Paris Diderot
When doctors were kings: Exploring the remains of a colonial medical utopia in East Cameroon

In fall 2016, we co-taught a graduate seminar on “Mapping Hot Spots: ‘One Health’ and Infectious Disease Research in Africa.”  This seminar had two interrelated aims. First, we brought together a multidisciplinary cohort of graduate students to discuss some  questions about the characteristics and mapping of disease “hot spots.” What are the ways in which humanitarian, biosecurity, development, and conservation goals have reinforced particular regions as “hot spots” of infectious disease? What are the local and global forces that have shaped epidemiological research in such hotspots? How do historical and ethnographic perspectives of zoonotic disease research in “hot spots” compel us to problematize and rethink global health and the research process in new ways? The seminar focused on ways in which questions and approaches from different disciplines overlap and diverge, and the ways that both commonalities and frictions might be used productively in interdisciplinary research.

Second, during this seminar we worked together with the graduate students to design a topically relevant research project to conduct in Uganda.  The work of developing the research project was finalized in spring 2017.  With the additional support of an Incubator Grant from the Institute for Regional and International Studies, our team of faculty and graduate students conducted fieldwork in western Uganda during summer 2017.  Our goal will be to explore themes that emerged during the seminar and to create a platform for future interdisciplinary research on these same themes.

Tony Goldberg
Professor, Pathobiological Sciences

Neil Kodesh
Associate Professor, History

Josh Garoon
Assistant Professor, Community and Environmental Sociology