Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Workshop: Colonial Metabolisms, African Histories

05 June 2024, 2:00 pm–7:00 pm

a man walking past a wall with street art

Join us for this half-day workshop to celebrate the work of Megan Vaughan, who is retiring from UCL this summer.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students






Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground, G11
Ground floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower St, London

Megan joined UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies in 2015 and has played a central role in developing its interdisciplinary ethos and practice. She came to us from Cambridge, where she was Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History, after starting her career in Oxford, where she became Professor of Commonwealth Studies.

The afternoon offers an opportunity to discuss the many historical and anthropological questions raised by Megan’s scholarship, and to reflect on the current state of the field of African history, to which she has made such influential contributions.


2.00-3.30 pm  
Colonial Metabolisms: Megan Vaughan, Julie Livingston and Paige Patchin
Chair: Nicola Miller

Megan will present her most recent work on the idea of colonial metabolisms, drawing on archival and field work in Malawi, then Julie and Paige will offer commentaries to stimulate a general discussion.

3.30-4.00 pm

4.00-5.30 pm  
Creole Island Revisited: Megan Vaughan and Philippe Sands in conversation
Chair: Tamar Garb

The two speakers will offer reflections on the history and politics of Mauritius, the subject of Megan’s book, Creating the Creole Island: Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Mauritius (2005) and Philippe’s recent work, The Last Colony: A Tale of Exile, Justice and Britain's Colonial Legacy (2022).

5.30 pm

6.00 pm
A Toast to Megan

7.00 pm

About the Speaker

Megan Vaughan

at UCL Institute of Advanced Studies

Megan Vaughan was formerly Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History at the University of Cambridge and Professor of Commonwealth Studies at the University of Oxford. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society.

Megan Vaughan joined the Institute of Advanced Studies in October 2015 as Professor of African History and Health. Her work, which crosses disciplinary boundaries, has focused on the history of medicine and psychiatry in Africa, on the history of famine, food supply and gender relations and on slavery in the Indian Ocean region. Most recently she held a major AHRC award on the history of death and death practices in Eastern and Southern Africa. She is now working on a Wellcome Trust-funded history of epidemiological change in Africa, focusing on 'chronic' diseases. She began her career at the University of Malawi and maintains strong links there and elsewhere in the region. She is committed to working collaboratively with African scholars and institutions and is a past President of the African Studies Association of the UK

More about Megan Vaughan