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Accepted Paper:

Ectothermic Horizons: Climate Change, Vectorborne Diseases and The Humble Brick  
Ann Kelly (King's College London)

Paper short abstract:

A transdisciplinary project seeking to enhance the protective capacities of earthen building materials--the humble brick-provides this paper with a prompt to consider how anthropology's thermal imagination might be expanded to better meet the challenges of global health in the Anthropocene.

Paper long abstract:

Mosquitoes are exquisitely temperature-sensitive. Thriving in warmer and more humid conditions, mosquitoes’ ectothermic biology has made them sentinels for the disease risk in an era of climate change, prompting calls for invasive species surveillance and ever-more expansive programmes of chemoprophylactic control. This paper explores another avenue to threat mosquitoes pose, a transdisciplinary project seeking to redesign the ‘humble brick’ as a tool for public health. The most commonly-used building artifact in the world, bricks are cheap, durable, modular, low-maintenance, energy-efficient, and have great potential for recycle and reuse. Those properties present an opportunity for the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases—a field of global health practice focused on household protection but dominated by chemical tools that offer little by way of material improvement to local living conditions. Locally sourced, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing, the brick, in contrast, can be enfolded into residential construction processes and priorities, providing the foundations for a more expansive imaginary of healthy and climate-resilient living. More than a vector control tool, transforming the humble brick can rearticulate aspirations for social progress within an enterprise circumscribed by humanitarian commitments—a global health modern better equipped to meet the needs of our collective thermal future.

Panel P108
Biosocial approaches to health and environment
  Session 1