Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Darna Dufour

Second Advisor

J. Terrence McCabe

Third Advisor

Jerry Jacka


The focus of this thesis is to provide a holistic understanding of the political, cultural, environmental, and biological factors that may be contributing to increased vulnerability to anthrax in Wayuu and non-Wayuu human and livestock communities in La Guajira, Colombia. Qualitative data collection was undertaken during a three month period from May to August 2014. A total of 14 semi-structured interviews were conducted with Wayuu and non-Wayuu herdowners, veterinarians, and government public health officials. Direct observations were collected on rancherías and farms in La Guajira throughout the duration of the study. The findings of this study suggest that the anthrax-drought relationship is mediated by several high-impact factors, primarily large and small scale animal movement. These anthropological insights will contribute to a greater understanding of human-animal relations in complex ecological contexts and to the ongoing reframing of international public health into a more holistic, locally-responsive, global health practice.