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Manikarnika Dutta

Research Associate

  • Faculty of History | Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

I am a historian of colonialism and medicine, with a specialist focus on the British Empire in South Asia. I hold an MA in Modern History (University of Calcutta), and an MSc in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology funded by a Wellcome Trust Masters studentship (University of Oxford). My DPhil research, part of the Wellcome Trust-funded project 'From Sail to Steam: Health, Medicine, and the Victorian Navy', examined the co-emergence of British maritime and tropical hygiene, and the importance of sanitary reforms for empire-building. I have received the Royal Historical Society Early Career Fellowship grant (2021) to develop my doctoral thesis into a monograph. My research until now has produced three peer-reviewed publications, and has won the Taniguchi Medal (2018) and the William Bynum. 

While studying archival sources related to the Rockefeller Foundation’s (RF) philanthropic programmes, as Rockefeller Archive Center Fellow (2019), I gained new awareness of the transnational dimensions of public health research in colonial India. That research informs my current work as Research Associate in the 'Invisible Crises, Neglected Histories: Malaria in Asia, c. 1900-present' project, in which I am developing a collaborative output on the co-operation between the British colonial state and the RF in malaria research and eradication in twentith-century India.


In general, I am interested in studying the social, political and cultural determinants of disease and medicine, especially the role of transnational encounters in the development of public health in colonial India.


You can follow me on Twitter @DManikarnika