Postdoctoral Fellow in African Studies and Global Health, History
mari.webel@emory.edu
Phone: (404) 727-6930
Office: Callaway S413
Office Hours: Mon - Wed, 4:30 -5:30  p.m.

B.A., Stanford University; M.A., University of York; Ph.D, Columbia University.  Modern East African history, especially Tanzania; history of health and medicine; imperial and colonial history.

I focus on the history of East Africa from the nineteenth century to the present.  Broadly, I am interested in how experiences of illness and disease relate to social and political change. My current research deals with sleeping sickness in colonial East Africa before World War I, arguing that sleeping sickness research and prevention in the early twentieth century functioned at a nexus of African mobility, German colonial and African politics, and tropical medicine expertise.  This disease — fatal if left untreated — and subsequent treatment and prevention efforts redefined political power and social influence in Africa's Great Lakes region through the creation of a cohort of African medical auxiliaries and the foundation of isolation camps.   I use the history of sleeping sickness interventions in northwestern Tanzania to understand how responses to epidemic disease created economic relationships, reshaped social and political hierarchies, and set new ground rules for African agriculture and trade.

My other work focuses on Africa in the era of global health.  I'm interested in the history and development of "neglected tropical diseases" (NTDs) as an operative and imaginative category in public health.  Focusing on four African case studies, this project explores how international organizations and African communities have reconciled the quotidian presence of diseases of poverty with their branding as “neglected” within the ambitious, future-oriented programs of global health and economic development.  I highlight continuities from the colonial period as well as ruptures in the more recent past, particularly around the development and delivery of drug therapies in Africa.

My teaching interests include the history of East Africa, comparative colonial history, environmental and ecological history, the history of health and healing in Africa, and the history of global health and global pharmaceuticals.

My Curriculum Vitae