I am a historian of colonialism and medicine, with a specialist focus on the British Empire in South Asia. My Wellcome Trust-finded DPhil examined the co-emergence of British maritime and tropical hygiene, and the importance of sanitary reforms for empire-building. I am currently preparing the manuscript of my monograph Health and Welfare of European Seamen in Nineteenth-Century India. I have published articles on cholera and British seamen (forthcoming in Medical History) and Sailors' Homes in colonial India (Cultural and Social History), and a book chapter on seamen's drinking habits (winner of Taniguchi Medal).
Colonialism, public health and medicine
History of death and dying
Global scientific collaboration
My DPhil explored the health and welfare of European seamen in the British naval and merchant fleet on board ships and in Indian port cities in the nineteenth century. This research helped me expand the historical understanding of the key role of ‘mobile British subaltern subjects’ in shaping British imperialism, a palpable sense of the tropics, and tropical hygiene.
Since completing my DPhil, I have held a Rockefeller Archive Center fellowship to explore how the organisation shaped public health research in late colonial India as part of its medical philanthropic programme. The key theme that emerged from this research was the impact of money and nationalist politics on scientific collaboration and research. It generated new insights into how British and American scientists and doctors collaborated to overcome the Great Depression and dealt with dwindling colonial privileges accentuated by the growing influence of Indians in administrative matters. I'm currently working on the 'Invisible Crises, Neglected Histories: Malaria in Asia, c.1900-present' project where I explore the joint role of the colonial state and the Rockfeller Foundation in India's malaria research and eradication programme post 1930s.