High-altitude aggressions and physiological degeneration? The biography of “climate” as an object of scientific inquiry in Colombia during the 19th and the early 20th centuries Academic Article

abstract

  • © 2015, Universidad del Rosario. All rights reserved.Objective: to show the role played by experimental physiology in the way of understanding the effects of high-altitude climates on the functioning of the human body and the possibilities of progress of the Colombian nation throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Content: the transformation of the concept of climate as an object of scientific inquiry is explored over the studied period. This is done by analyzing investigations on respiratory capacity, nutrition and metabolism, blood chemistry and heart function in people of the eastern range of the Colombian Andes. Conclusions: beyond an institutional or disciplinary history of physiology, this article shows that some practices of experimental physiology played a role in the process of representing the Colombian nation, territory, and population. The inhabitants of the Andean highlands were understood not only in terms of race and innate abilities, but also in terms of social classes and organic transformations. The idea that there was a supposed process of “physiological degeneration”, decreasing the efficiency of high-altitude workers, was tried to compensate through a “rational diet”.

publication date

  • 2015/1/1

keywords

  • Aggression
  • Aptitude
  • Climate
  • Colombia
  • Diet
  • Efficiency
  • Human Body
  • Physiological Phenomena
  • Population
  • Social Class
  • ability
  • aggression
  • chemistry
  • climate
  • efficiency
  • history
  • inhabitant
  • nutrition
  • physiology
  • social class
  • worker

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1692-7273

number of pages

  • 19

start page

  • 65

end page

  • 83