chapter  7
16 Pages

Will He Be There? Mediating malaria, immobilizing science

WithAnn H. Kelly

This paper focuses on an unsettling example of experimental labour the Human Landing Catch (HLC). The HLC is a cheap and reliable technique to produce data on mosquito densities in a

defined area. It requires only a human volunteer to sit over night with his legs exposed, a

headlamp to spot mosquitoes, and a rubber tube and plastic cup to catch them as they come to

feed on him. The HLC formed the central methodological and operational strategy for a malaria

control that took place in Dar es Salaam, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This

paper analyses the epistemic and economic value of this experimental scenario by examining in

detail the work it entails. In conceptualizing the different species of productivity associated with

the HLC, of particular interest is the surprising fact that he is there. This paper argues that the

interplay of mobility and immobility offers a way to rethink the value of research within

interlocking circulations of capital, science, mosquitoes and men.