Decolonise Mosquitoes

The decolonial turn in the academy is recent but pervasive. Scholarly manifestoes in many academic disciplines, ranging from ethnography to geology, have urged on the need to explore, and contest the impacts of colonialism in their respective fields. But what possibilities and challenges are revealed when decolonising insights are applied to rethink specific categories in animal history? In this talk, I address this question by focussing on mosquitoes in British India. In the process, I will elucidate three distinct historical processes: ‘invisible labour’, ‘dissent’ and ‘re-colonisation’. I will argue that the project of ‘decolonising mosquitoes’ should be grounded on a scholarly praxis that enables historians to formulate newer critiques of colonialism. I will also comment on why it is problematic for such a project to seek convenient alternatives in post-colonial nationalisms.