Agricultura e império: cacau, café e práticas ambientalistas em África

Marta Macedo, Maria do Mar Gago

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Physicians are a common presence in histories of the Portuguese Republican regime that came to power after the revolutionary coup of 1910. While many historians have established a close relation between their political views and generic scientific theories, there is a lack of understanding on how concrete scientific practices were made into political projects. This chapter
weaves science and politics by delving into the research undertaken by Miguel Bombarda at the Hospital de Rilhafoles and Luís da Câmara Pestana and his colleagues at the Bacteriological Institute, exploring how the scientific work undertaken at these biomedical laboratories contributed to the healing of an alleged degenerate nation. For medical elites of the late 19th century, mental illness or diphtheria were, among others, the visible image of the “social misery” that they claimed under‑mined the Portuguese nation. In their efforts for the betterment of society,
doctors mobilised bacteria and brains through histology or bacteriology. The experimental approach making use of new quantitative diagnostic methods, chemical analysis, and the microscope changed medicine and empowered its practitioners as political actors. This chapter brings together in a single narrative the historical emergence of the laboratory as a privileged space to produce science, with the Republican project to re-found the nation on a scientific basis.
Original languagePortuguese
Title of host publicationCiências, tecnologia e medicina na construção de Portugal 4
Subtitle of host publicationinovação e contestação (séc. XX)
EditorsMaria Paula Diogo, Ana Simões
Place of PublicationLisboa
PublisherTinta da China
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)978-989-671-599-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Hospital de Rilhafoles
  • Instituto Câmara Pestana
  • Republican regime
  • Physicians
  • Laboratories

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