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Rebecca Williams

From September 2014 I will be working as a Lecturer in Medical History at the Department of History, University of Exeter. Please visit my new profile page for further information and contact details.


Education

PhD History, University of Warwick, 2014

MA History of Medicine (Distinction), UCL, 2008

BA History (First Class Hons), Cardiff University, 2006


Research

My research interests are in the history of medicine, development studies, and the history of modern South Asia.

My doctoral thesis, ‘Revisiting the Khanna Study: Population and Development in India, 1953-60’, addressed the establishment of population control programmes in postcolonial India. Specifically, my thesis examined how and why India became a ‘laboratory’ for population control intervention in the post-war period, for transnational organisations and the Government of India alike. Drawing upon oral history interviews and archives across India and the US, my thesis made two main, interconnected arguments. First, I argued that international organisations focused upon India because of the scale, poverty and—crucially—accessibility of its population. Second, I argued that population control was important to the Government of India because Indian intellectuals and officials saw population growth as an obstacle to economic development.

My next research project, entitled ‘Population Control and the Emergency in India: The Shah Commission Regained’, examines how and why population control served as a crucial point of state intervention during the ‘Emergency’ of 1975-77, when millions were sterilised.


Publications

'Storming the Citadels of Poverty: Family Planning under the Emergency in India, 1975-1977', Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 73, No. 2 (May 2014)

‘“Surveillance for Equity”? Poverty, Inequality and the Anti-Politics of International Health,’ forthcoming in Sarah Hodges and Mohan Rao (eds.), Science, Technology and Medicine in India, 1930-2000: The Problem of Poverty


Selected Awards

  • Early Career Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, 2013-2014
  • IHR Scouloudi Fellow (6 months), 2012-13
  • Francis A. Countway Library Fellowship in the History of Medicine, 2011
  • Economic History Society Research Fund for Graduate Students Grant, 2011
  • AHRC Library of Congress Fellowship, 2011
  • Rockefeller Archive Centre Grant-in-aid Award, 2011
  • AHRC Research Training Support Grant, 2011
  • Royal Historical Society Postgraduate Research Support Grant 2010
  • Rockefeller Archive Centre Grant-in-aid Award, 2010
  • BASAS Postgraduate Bursary 2010
  • AHRC Doctoral Award Holder, 2009-2012
  • Wellcome Trust Masters Studentship Award Holder, 2007-2008

Invited Talks

'Population Control and the State in 1950s India: Producing Consent through "Unmet Needs”’, Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine seminar series, University of Oxford, 19th May 2014

‘Producing a Population Laboratory: The Khanna Study, Harvard School of Public Health and the “Epidemiology of Population”, 1953-1960,’ Historical Demography Seminar Series, Centre for History in Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 4th December 2013

‘Revisiting Manupur (Again): Family Planning and the Construction of Demographic Knowledge in an Indian Village, 1953-2011,’ SOAS Anthropology Department, ‘Restudies’ Seminar Series, 25th October 2011

Departmental Talks

‘The Khanna Study, the Rockefeller Foundation and Population Control in India,’ Director’s Seminar Series, Institute of Historical Research, 31st October 2012

‘Storming the Citadels of Poverty: Family Planning Under the Emergency in India, 1975-77,’ WIP Paper, Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick, 15th November 2011

‘Family Planning in India: the Case of the Khanna Study,’ WIP talk, Kluge Center for Scholars at the Library of Congress, 7th September 2011

Selected Conference Papers

‘The Production of India as a Laboratory for Population Control’, Spaces of Technoscience Workshop, National University Singapore, 21st-22nd July 2014

‘The “inarticulate premise”: family planning under the Emergency in India, 1975-77’, British Association of South Asian Studies Annual Conference, Royal Holloway, 2nd-4th April 2014

‘“The Darling and the Downfall of the Donors”: Transnational Organisations and The Production of India as a Population Control Laboratory during the 1950s,’ Science, Technology and Medicine in India: the Problem of Poverty, Workshop at Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, 28th-29th March 2013

‘The Khanna Study, National Planning and the Production of Demographic Knowledge in 1950s India,’ Science, Technology and Medicine in India: the Problem of Poverty, Workshop at the University of Warwick, 5th October 2012

‘The Epidemiology of Population: Public Health, Population Control and the Construction of Demographic Knowledge in the Khanna Study, 1953-1960,’ Emerging perspectives on clinical and public health experimentation: An international colloquium, Sociology Department, University of Edinburgh, 25th-26th September 2012

‘Surveillance for Equity? “Epidemographic” Interventions from the Khanna Study and Beyond,’ Science, Technology and Medicine in India: the Problem of Poverty, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Workshop at Jawaharlal Nehru University, 22nd March 2012

‘The Khanna Study, the Rockefeller Foundation and Population Control in India,’ Warwick-Columbia-LSE Global History Workshop, University of Warwick, 9th March 2012

‘Family Planning, the Khanna Study, and the “Epidemiology of Population”’, BSHS Annual Postgraduate Conference, University of Warwick, 4th January 2012

‘Family Planning Under the Emergency in India, 1975-77: the Unauthorised Version,’ Science, Technology and Medicine in India: the Problem of Poverty, Workshop at the University of Warwick, 13th-14th October 2011

‘The Khanna Study: Population and Poverty in India, 1953-1969,’ Science, Technology and Medicine in India: the Problem of Poverty, Workshop at Jawaharlal Nehru University, 17th-18th March 2011




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