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Indiana University Bloomington

Kathleen Vongsathorn

Kathleen VongsathornKathleen Vongsathorn received her B.A. in History from Carleton College, and her M.Sc. in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology and D.Phil. in Modern History from the University of Oxford’s Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine.  Since the completion of her doctorate in 2012, she has been a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

Her research and teaching interests are in the history of medicine and humanitarianism in modern Africa, with subsidiary interests in the history of childhood and gender.  Vongsathorn is specifically interested in histories of missionary medicine and medical humanitarianism in twentieth-century Uganda.  Currently, she is converting her doctoral thesis, on missionary, government, and patient roles in the development of leprosy settlements in colonial Uganda into a book on humanitarianism and the elimination of leprosy in Uganda, 1927-1994, and also pursuing a postdoctoral research project on the role of gender in the transmission and adaptation of biomedical knowledge in Uganda.


‘Public Health or Public Good?  Humanitarian Agendas and the Treatment of Leprosy in Uganda’, in Bronwen Everill and Josiah Kaplan (eds.), The History and Practice of Humanitarian Intervention and Aid in Africa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 43-66.

‘Discovering the ‘Leper’: Shifting Attitudes towards Leprosy in Twentieth-Century Uganda’, in Jonathan Reinarz and Kevin Siena (eds.), A Medical History of Skin: Scratching the Surface (Pickering & Chatto, 2013), 99-111.

‘Gnawing Pains, Festering Ulcers, and Nightmare Suffering: Selling Leprosy as a Humanitarian Cause in the British Empire, c. 1890-1960’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 40.5 (2012), 863-78.

‘First and foremost the evangelist’?  Mission and government priorities for the treatment of leprosy in Uganda, 1927-48’, Journal of Eastern

African Studies, 6.3 (2012), 544-60.