DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12804/revsalud13.especial.2015.06

El metabolismo racial: estudios eugenésicos en Jamaica y Yucatán entre 1920 y 1940

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Joel Vargas Domínguez

Resumen


Objetivo: este artículo analiza cómo se conformó la investigación sobre el metabolismo basal a principios del siglo XX, realizada en Jamaica y Yucatán y auspiciada por la Carnegie Institution de Washington (CIW). Se quiere mostrar que esta investigación fisiológica, que se llevó a cabo en espacios externos a los laboratorios tradicionales, articuló e incorporó nociones eugenésicas y racializadas sobre los cuerpos estudiados. Desarrollo: con las herramientas de la historia de la ciencia, se analizaron las publicaciones, los informes y la correspondencia de los miembros de las expediciones de la Carnegie Institution. Conclusiones: se muestra que el metabolismo basal normal fue un parámetro que se construyó y usó con una fuerte carga eugenésica de distinción racial en las primeras décadas del siglo XX. Los investigadores Francis G. Benedict, Charles B. Davenport y Morris Steggerda de la CIW lideraron estos estudios no solo médicos, sino también de corte antropológico, para responder a la pregunta acerca de si había efectos raciales y ambientales sobre el metabolismo del cuerpo de los sujetos de estudio. Los resultados de estas investigaciones se incorporaron a las fórmulas para evaluar el estado nutricional de las poblaciones, lo que puede tener repercusiones actuales en la forma de entender la “normalidad” metabólica.

Palabras clave


eugenesia, Fisiología, Institución Carnegie, metabolismo, raza

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