Edens Associate Professor of Geography and Global Health
medical, human-environment, Latin America
Carnegie Hall, 103a
Eric Carter is a medical geographer, with connected interests in people-environment geography and historical geography, and a regional focus on Latin America. Eric has joined the Macalester Geography department after five years of liberal arts teaching experience at Grinnell College in Iowa. Originally from Southern California, he received his BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley and his MS and PhD in Geography from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
His research in global health is steeped in the intellectual tradition and analytical approaches of people-environment geography. He takes a political ecology approach to health and disease, viewing health problems—particularly infectious and vector-borne diseases—as an important yet often overlooked instance of the relationship between people and their environment. The uneven geography of global health—just like the uneven geography of hunger or of environmental quality—is structured by political-economic conditions and complicated by proximate, local-scale processes. To understand the root causes of persistent public health problems it is important to analyze ecological change, social conditions, development policy, and belief systems, cultural values, and ideology. Thus his geographical research takes an interdisciplinary approach, bridging the realms of international development, global health, and environmental studies.
He has written extensively on the historical-geographical aspects of malaria control in Argentina. His articles on this subject have appeared in the Journal of Historical Geography, Geoforum, the Journal of Latin American Geography, and the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, as well as the book Enemy in the Blood: Malaria, Environment, and Development in Argentina (University of Alabama Press, 2012).
While continuing research in the area of global health, Eric has launched another project more recently to understand environmental values, attitudes, and politics among Latino immigrants in the United States, as discussed in a recent article in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. He has also published research on a variety of other geographical topics, including borders and political identity in Misiones province, Argentina; the commemoration of the socialist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Rosario, Argentina; the perceptions and concerns of "stand-alone" geographers in North American colleges and universities; and the changing cultural landscape of the San Fernando Valley (California), where he grew up.
Eric's approach to teaching is based on promoting critical thinking skills through inquiry-based learning, stimulating classroom discussions, and integrating perspectives from multiple fields. Reflecting his dedication to interdisciplinary teaching, Eric's courses also serve Macalester's Community and Global Health concentration and Environmental Studies major.
Eric Carter's book "Enemy in the Blood: Malaria, Environment, and Development in Argentina," published by the University of Alabama Press, has received the 2013 Elinor Melville Prize for the best book on Latin American environmental history, awarded by the Conference on Latin American History. The book traces the evolution of malaria science and policy in the impoverished region of Northwest Argentina from the disease's emergence as a social problem in the 1890s to its effective eradication by 1950.