UCL Anthropocene


Professor Megan Vaughan

Academic position: Professor of African History and Health

Department: Institute of Advanced Studies

Email: megan.vaughan@ucl.ac.uk

UCL Website: Professor Megan Vaughan 


I studied for a PhD in African History at SOAS and taught at the University of Malawi for several years. I was Professor of Commonwealth Studies at University of Oxford and then Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History at University of Cambridge before moving to UCL. 

My work is inherently interdisciplinary and has mostly been focused on the history of rural communities in East/Central Africa (particularly Malawi and Zambia). This has involved examining the social and political contexts (especially colonialism) of food production in relation to changing environmental conditions, demands on labour and gendered practices. I also work on the history of disease and medicine in Africa in relation to long-term environmental changes and the interventions of colonial and postcolonial states. My current research (funded by the Wellcome Trust) aims to produce a critical account of chronic ‘non-communicable’ disease in sub-Saharan Africa.

Research Projects:

Chronic Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa 

  • Megan Vaughan, The Story of an African Famine: gender and famine in twentieth century Malawi, Cambridge University Press, 1987 
  • Megan Vaughan and Henrietta Moore, Cutting Down Trees: Gender, Nutrition and Agricultural Change in Northern Zambia, Heinemann, 1997 
  • Megan Vaughan, Creating the Creole Island: Slavery in Eighteenth Century Mauritius, Duke University Press, 1995