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Professor Megan Vaughan

Professor Megan Vaughan

Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History


Kings' College
Cambridge CB2 1ST
Office Phone: 01223 3 31100


Professor Vaughan studied African history at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and taught for some years in the University of Malawi and at the University of Oxford before taking up her post in Cambridge.

Research Interests

The social, economic and cultural history of Africa, history of medicine and psychiatry in Africa, slavery in the Indian Ocean, history and anthropology.

Research Supervision

Current and recently completed PhDs on the history of leprosy in twentieth century Nigeria; history of African coffee growing in Kenya; colonial psychiatry in East Africa; gender and land in Tanzania; history of Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto.


Main teaching contributions are to Part 1 :Paper 23 ( The West and the Third World), Paper 21 ( Expansion of Europe) and a new Themes and Sources paper on Epidemics, Ideas and Colonialism. Part 11: Paper 25 ( History of Africa since 1800) and paper 29 (British Empire and Commonwealth).

Key Publications

  • The Story of an African Famine: Gender and Famine in Twentieth Century Malawi (Cambridge 1987)
  • Curing Their Ills: Colonial Power and African Illness (Polity Press, 1991)
  • Cutting Down Trees: Gender, Nutrition and Agricultural Change in Noorthern Province, Zambia, 1890-1990 (with Henrietta L. Moore) (Heinemann and James Currey, 1995)
  • Creating the Creole Island: Slavery in Eighteenth Century Mauritius (Duke University Press, 2004).