Research

Figure 3 Henry Mahon Essay on ScurvyMedicine, Migration, Migraine…

My research interests include the social and cultural history of health and illness, colonial medicine and migration, imprisonment and institutions.

Most recently, I have been working on a book-length project about the social, cultural and medical history of migraine. This will be published as Migraine: A History by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2019.

I am also interested in maritime and environmental history. I have written about the maritime experiences of convict and free emigrants who sailed to Australia in the nineteenth century, maritime and border health and medicine, colonial vaccination, medical experimentation, quarantines, and migraine.

My projects all reflect my interest in how different environments, societies, cultures and life-histories have affected knowledge and experiences of health and illness in different times and places.

I am interested in who gets to speak with authority about health and illness: how have national and colonial governments used medicine as a way to deal with ‘problem’ populations? Whose knowledge gets to appear and matter in the historical sources that survive? What kinds of histories do different kinds of evidence allow us to write?

I am continuing to develop work on the history of medicine in maritime, colonial, and Australian contexts, with projects on the history of quarantine and the health of prisoners.