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While many academics and popular journalists have recently addressed historical epidemics in the context of COVID-19, much of this literature concerns the history of former colonial powers rather than the history of formerly colonized states. This review finds that the French colonial regime frequently used disease as a means to exert increased political power over the people of the Senegal. Primary sources, analyses of colonialism and disease in Senegal, and current popular media reveal that post-colonial successes in managing epidemic disease, when contrasted with colonial-era racialization of rampant disease, is likely shaping the Senegalese government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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