Diana K. Davis speaks on "Decolonial Historical Geography? Recovering the Story of the First South African Veterinarian"

LSU Pruitt Lecture

Decolonial Historical Geography? Recovering the Story of the First South African Veterinarian 

Presented by Diana K. Davis, DVM, PhD
Friday, 22 March 2024
Howe-Russell E130, 3:30 pm

Photo of Dr. Jotello Soga
Dr. Jotello Soga 

Abstract of Talk

The first formally trained veterinarian in South Africa was the little known but remarkable Jotello Soga. Dr. Soga was the second veterinarian to be appointed Assistant Veterinary Surgeon for British Cape Colony in 1889. He excelled in this job and made significant contributions to veterinary toxicology and livestock vaccination methods. Despite these accomplishments, he was basically written out of history by white veterinarians of the time and later. No other Black South African veterinarians would be trained for a century. By
highlighting Soga's remarkable trajectory, this lecture aims to help decolonize historical veterinary geography and the history of veterinary medicine which has been long dominated by the "great deeds" of a succession of men, nearly entirely white. 

Diana K. Davis

Diana K. Davis, a Geographer and Veterinarian, is Chair of the Geography Graduate Group and Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of the award-winning Resurrecting the Granary of Rome: Environmental History and French Colonial Expansion in North Africa, The Arid Lands: History, Knowledge Power, and Co-editor of Environmental Imaginaries of the Middle East and North Africa. She is currently working on a book about the imperial afforestation of the sands of San Francisco.