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Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine

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Professor Mark Harrison

Wellcome Unit

Wellcome Unit

Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine and Professor of the History of Medicine

45-47 Banbury Road,

Telephone: +44 (0)1865 284629

Fax: +44 (0)1865 274605
Email: mark.harrison(at)

Research Interests

Mark Harrison has published widely on the history of disease and medicine, especially in relation to the history of war and imperialism from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. He is currently working on a history of medicine and British imperial expansion, c.1700-1850.

Mark Harrison works in the following periods:

  • Global and Imperial History
  • History of Science and Medicine

Mark Harrison is involved in the following research projects:

  • From Sail to Steam: Health, Medicine, and the Victorian Navy
    (Wellcome Trust Project Grant)
  • The Challenge of Urbanization: Health and the Global City
    (Wellcome Trust ISSF/John Fell Fund Award)
  • Invisible Crises, Neglected Histories: Malaria in Asia c.1900-present
    (Wellcome Trust Investigator Award)
  • Oxford Martin School
    (Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease)



Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease (forthcoming with Yale University Press 2012)

The Medical War: British Military Medicine in the First World War (Oxford University Press, 2010)  Winner of the Templer Medal Book Prize

Medicine in the Age of Commerce and Empire: Britain and its Tropical Colonies, 1660-1830 (Oxford University Press, 2010)

(with S. Bhattacharya and M. Worboys), Fractured States: Smallpox, Vaccination and Public Health Policy in British India, 1800-1947 (Orient Longman, August 2005)

Medicine and Victory: British Military Medicine in the Second World War (Oxford University Press, 2004)  Winner of the Templer Medal Book Prize

Disease and the Modern World, 1500 to the Present Day (Polity Press, 2004) 

Climates and Constitutions: Health, Race, Environment and British Imperialism in India, 1600-1850 (Oxford University Press, 1999)

Public Health in British India: Anglo-Indian Preventive Medicine, 1859-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 1994

Edited Collections

(ed. with M. Jones and H. Sweet), From Global Medicine to Western Medicine: The Hospital Beyond the West (Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2009)

(ed. with B. Pati), The Social History of Health and Medicine on Colonial India (London: Routledge, 2008)

(ed. with B. Pati), Health, Medicine and Empire: Perspectives on Colonial India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2001)

(ed. with Peter Cain), Imperialism: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies (London: Routledge, 2001), 3 vols

(ed. with R. Cooter & S. Sturdy), Medicine and Modern Warfare (Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, 1999)

(ed., with R. Cooter & S. Sturdy) War, Medicine and Modernity (Stroud: Sutton, 1998)

Articles in refereed journals

‘Scurvy on Sea and Land: Political Economy and Natural History, c.1780-c.1850’, Journal for Maritime Research, 15 (2013), 7-26

‘Disease, Diplomacy and International Commerce: The Origins of International Sanitary Regulation in the Nineteenth Century’, Journal of Global History, 1 (2006), 197-217 

‘Science and the British Empire’, Isis, 96 (2005), 56-63

‘From Medical Astrology to Medical Astronomy: Sol-Lunar Theories of Disease in British Medicine, c.1700-1860’, British Journal for the History of Science, 33 (2000), 25-48 

‘Medicine and the Management of Modern Warfare’, History of Science, 34 (1996), 379-410

‘Medicine and the Culture of Command: The Case of Malaria Control in the British Army during the two World Wars’, Medical History, 40 (1996), 437-52

‘“The Tender Frame of Man”: Disease, Climate and Racial Difference in India and the West Indies, 1760-1860’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 1996, 70, 68-93

‘The British Army and the Problem of Venereal Disease in France and Egypt during the First World War’, Medical History, 39 (1995), 133-158

‘Quarantine, Pilgrimage, and Colonial Trade: India 1866-1900’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, 29, 2 (1992), 117-44

‘Tropical Medicine in Nineteenth-Century India’, British Journal for the History of Science, 25 (1992), 299-318

‘Towards a Sanitary Utopia? Professional Visions and Public Health in India, 1880-1914’, South Asia Research, 10, 1 (May 1990), 19-40

Published lectures

‘Disease and the Dilemmas of Development: A Malaria Strategy for Bombay Presidency, 1902-42’, Hasi Majumdar Oration on History and Philosophy of Medicine and Science, 22 March 2011 (Calcutta University, 2011), 1-42.

Chapters in edited collections

‘From Bazaar Medicine to Hospital Medicine: Calomel, India and the British Empire, c.1750-c.1800’, in D. Kumar and R.S. Basu (eds.), Medical Encounters in British India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013), 61-80.

‘Networks of Knowledge: Rethinking Science and Medicine in Early Colonial India’, in D. Peers and N. Guptu (eds.), The Oxford Companion to the History of the British Empire: India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 191-212

‘Medicine and Colonialism in South Asia since 1500’, in M. Jackson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 285-301

‘The Calcutta Botanic Garden in the Era of Nathaniel Wallich,’ in U. Dasgupta (ed.), Science and Modern India: An Institutional History, c.1784-1947 (New Delhi: Centre for Studies in Civilizations, 2010), 235-254

‘An “Important and Truly National Subject”: The West Africa Service and the Health of the Royal Navy in the Mid Nineteenth Century’, in D.B. Haycock and S. Archer (eds.), Health and Medicine at Sea 1700-1900 (London: Boydell Press, 2009), 108-127

‘Introduction’, in M. Harrison, M. Jones and H. Sweet (eds.), From Western Medicine to Global Medicine: The Hospital Beyond the West (Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2009), 1-32

‘Medical Experimentation in British India: The Case of Helenus Scott’, in H. Ebrahimnejad (ed.), The Development of Medicine in Non-Western Countries: Historical Perspectives (Routledge, 2009), 23-41

‘Racial Pathologies: Morbid Anatomy in British India, 1770-1850’, in Pati and Harrison (eds.), The Social History of Health and Medicine in Colonial India, 173-194

(with B. Pati), ‘Social History of Health and Medicine: Colonial India’, in B. Pati and M. Harrison (eds.), The Social History of Health and Medicine in Colonial India (London: Routledge, 2008), 1-14

‘War and Medicine in the Modern Era’, in K. Arnold, K. Vogel and J. Peto (eds.), War and Medicine (London: Black Dog, 2008), 11-27

‘Disease and Medicine in the Armies of British India, 1750-1830: The Treatment of Fevers and the Emergence of Tropical Therapeutics’, in G. Hudson (ed.), British Military and Naval Medicine, 1600-1830 (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2007)

‘Medicine and Orientalism: Perspectives on Europe’s Encounter with Indian Medical Systems’, in Pati & Harrison (eds.), Health, Medicine and Empire, 37-87

(with Biswamoy Pati), ‘Introduction’, Health, Medicine and Empire: Perspectives on Colonial India (Orient Longman, 2001), 1-36

'Differences of Degree: Representations of India in British Medical Topography, 1820-c.1870', in N.A. Rupke (ed.), Medical Geography in Historical Perspective, Medical History, Supplement, No.20, 2000, 51-69

‘Was there an Oriental Renaissance in Medicine?  The Evidence of the Nineteenth-Century Medical Press’, in David Finkelstein and Douglas Peers (eds.), Negotiating India in the Nineteenth-Century Media (Macmillan, 2000), 233-54

‘Sex and the Citizen Soldier: Health, Morals and Discipline in the British Army during the Second World War’, in M. Harrison & R. Cooter (eds.), Medicine and Modern Warfare, 225-251

'Disease, Discipline and Dissent: The Indian Army in France and England, 1914-1915', in M. Harrison & R. Cooter (eds.), Medicine and Modern Warfare, 185-205

‘Medicine and Modern Warfare: An Introduction’, in M. Harrison, R. Cooter & S. Sturdy (eds.), Medicine and Modern Warfare (Rodopi Press, 1999), 1-29

(with Michael Worboys), ‘Tuberculosis in the British Empire, 1900-1948’, in Michael Worboys and Lara Marks (eds.), Minorities, Migrants and Health (Routledge, 1997), 93-124

‘The Fight Against Disease in the Mesopotamian Campaign’, in Peter Liddle and Hugh Cecil (eds.), Facing Armageddon: The First World War Experienced (Barnsley: Leo Cooper, 1996), 475-89

'A Question of Locality: The Identity of Cholera in British India 1860-1890’, in David Arnold (ed.), Warm Climates and Western Medicine (Rodopi Press, 1996), 133-59

‘Medicine’, in Ian Dear & M.R.D. Foot (eds.), The Oxford Companion to the Second World War (Oxford University Press, 1995), 723-731


MA, Modern History, University of Oxford

DPhil, Modern History, University of Oxford 

BSc, 1st Class Hons, Social Science (History major), University of Bradford

Membership of professional societies

American Association for the History of Medicine

British Society for the History of Science

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Society for the Social History of Medicine

Joint editor of New Perspectives on South Asian History, Orient Longman. This series of volumes specializes in the history of science and medicine, and environmental history.

Member of editorial advisory board, Medizinhistorisches Journal, 2004-present.

Member of the editorial board of the journal Social History of Medicine, 1997-2005.

Assistant Editor, New Dictionary of National Biography.

Membership of funding bodies

Chair, Wellcome Trust Medical History and Humanities Expert Review Group, 2011-present

Chair, Wellcome Trust Indian Programme Award Sub-Committee, 2011-present

Chair Wellcome Trust History of Medicine Fellowship Interview Committee, 2007-2011

Board of Management, Beit Fund, University of Oxford, 2004-present

Wellcome Trust History of Medicine Funding Committee, 2002-6

Page last updated: 27/01/2017, at 12:37

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