Southern Africa; Science, Technology and Medicine; Indigenous Knowledges; Public History; Food and Agriculture; and Globalization.
Ph.D. in History, University of California, Los Angeles, 2001. Post-Baccalaureate in African Studies, University of Cape Town. BA Sociology/Anthropology, Lawrence University.
I am currently working on a book-length project that examines how biomedicine and doctors both empowered and disrupted the system of South African indenture (1860-1911). Biomedicine was used and imagined as a tool of empire and industry, and also subject to the competing visions and responsibilities of various colonial forces, doctors, and the emergent field of public health. I am particularly interested in the international dimensions of this phenomenon, from negotiations between various colonial powers—Britain, India, and Natal—to evolving biomedical understandings of diseases like hookworm within tropical medicine. In particular, I seek to determine the conditions, such as the rise of a public health administration, that emboldened whistle-blowers who nudged reform in a system overwhelmingly stacked in the favor of the rich and powerful.