Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

April Mayes

Reader 2

Aimee Bahng

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Rights Information

2020 Joaquin D Labio


During the Second World War, the United States military occupied the Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, and New Guinea—all of which are islands in the southern Pacific Ocean already inhabited by Melanesian communities. The U.S. military quickly discovered that the greatest threat to its continued presence was the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasite and its alleged carrier, the anopheles mosquito. As an amorphous and nonhuman entity, malaria posed some representational challenges; mosquitoes are minute in size, and parasites even smaller. In order to render visible these microscopic interspecies worlds, the U.S. military circulated health education manuals, posters, and films that disseminated information on malaria transmission, prognosis, and prevention. This task was as much a literary and cultural endeavor as it was a scientific one. In order to make the mosquito and the malaria parasite legible to the human gaze of the settler U.S. soldier, these health education texts imbued human—and even racialized and gendered—characteristics onto mosquitoes and parasites. In particular, the mosquito and malaria parasite assume the anthropomorphized form of a racialized cast of characters—the Melanesian woman, the Japanese soldier, the immigrant, and the African American man—thereby rendering the mosquito and parasite as threats to the U.S. soldier’s settler white masculinity. Furthermore, I contend that these racialized interspecies representations legitimize material forms of governmentality not only towards mosquitoes and parasites, but also towards Melanesians, Japanese soldiers, immigrants, and African Americans—both in Oceania and in the United States.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.