Mary Augusta Brazelton

Associate Member, World History Subject Group, Faculty of History
University Lecturer, Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Affiliated Lecturer in East Asian Studies, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Research Fellow, Needham Research Institute
I am University Lecturer in Global Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine. My first book, Mass Vaccination: Citizens' Bodies and State Power in Modern China, examines the history of mass immunization in twentieth-century China. It suggests that the origins of the vaccination policies that eradicated smallpox and controlled other infectious diseases in the 1950s, providing an important basis for the emergence of Chinese health policy as a model for global health, can be traced to research and development in southwest China during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

My research interests lie broadly in historical intersections of science, technology, and medicine in China and around the world. Current projects include a collaborative exploration of the history of transportation technologies, with particular interests in transnational histories of civil aviation, and a study of the history of penicillin development in China. I received my PhD in History from Yale and have taught at Tufts University.
Global studies of science, technology and medicine; history of medicine and the life sciences in modern China; history of transportation technologies in the twentieth century; history of international and global health.


Tags & Themes


Dept of History and Philosophy of Science, Free School Lane, CB2 3RH


Key publications

Mass Vaccination: Citizens' Bodies and State Power in Modern China (Cornell University Press, 2019). A Study of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. Published with the support of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation.

"Engineering Health: Technologies of Immunization in China's Wartime Hinterland, 1937–45." Technology and Culture 60, no. 2 (April 2019): 409-37. This article received the Zhu Kezhen Senior Award from the International Society for the History of East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine in 2019.

Other publications

"The production of penicillin in wartime China and Sino-American definitions of 'normal' microbiology." Journal of Modern Chinese History 13, no. 1 (2019): 102-123. Part of a special issue edited by Hans Van de Ven, entitled "Wartime Everydayness in China during the Second World War."

"Danger in the Air: Tuberculosis Control and BCG Vaccination in the Republic of China, 1930-1949." Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review
8, no. 1 (May 2019).