Hilary Buxton is a historian of modern imperial Britain, with emphases on the history of medicine, race, gender and disability in the 19th and 20th centuries. Buxton’s research focuses on histories of colonial intimacy and the production of knowledge. She is currently at work on a project about the intersections of race and health in the First World War, which examines the experiences of wounded and disabled British West Indian and South Asian servicemen, their relationship with caregivers and the imperial state, and the lasting medical inequities produced out of this transcolonial encounter.

Prior to joining Kenyon, she was a Past & Present Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Historical Research at the University of London. Her work on health, masculinity and empire has appeared in Past & Present and the British Journal for the History of Science. Buxton teaches courses on the history of Britain and its Empire, comparative colonialisms, and the history of medicine and the body.

Areas of Expertise

Modern imperial Britain, colonial and global history, postcolonial science studies, race, gender and disability studies


2018 — Doctor of Philosophy from Rutgers College Univ NJ

2011 — Bachelor of Arts from Smith College

Courses Recently Taught

This mid-level survey course examines the history of the British Empire from its origin in the 16th century to its dissolution in the 20th century. By the close of the 19th century, the British Empire, whose beginnings were modest, encompassed approximately 13 million square miles and nearly 400 million people. Well before the end of the twentieth, this empire, the largest the world had ever seen, had virtually ceased to exist. Its story, from inception to extinction, is a remarkable one. The forces shaping the British Empire were both endogenous and exogenous. Internal imperatives, global imperial competition, and developments on the periphery impelled the empire forward and ultimately brought about its demise. This course seeks to understand the changing character of the British Empire and to explain the dynamics influencing its rise and fall. No prerequisite. Offered every fall semester.

This mid-level survey introduces students to the last 500 years of British history. Its chief purpose is to expose students to the principal forces — political, economic, social and cultural — shaping a country that would ultimately play a decisive role in the formation of the modern world. This counts toward the Americas/Europe requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every spring semester.

Is disease a great leveler? Or does it exacerbate social, gendered and raced inequalities? This course takes a global approach to the modern history of public health: its emergence as a profession, its expanding knowledge and the growth of policy around it. Spanning the 16th to 21st century, we will investigate changing knowledge and treatments of disease. We will critique how the medical and legal frameworks organized around disease shape our experience of it. The course moves through time chronologically, questioning the relationship between humans and the environment, the role of medical technologies and developments, and shifting interpretations of disease causation, ranging from urbanization and industrialization to immigration and globalization. We will explore these questions by examining a wide range of subjects, from biomedicine to racial hygiene, population politics to colonial medicine, vaccination and resistance to treatment, quarantine and detention and the global response to epidemics. By the end of the course, students will be able to examine policy, analyze epidemiological data, and think critically about the social and political consequences illness and the state’s response to it. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major. Offered every two or three years.

This course focuses on the conceptual frameworks used by historians and on debates within the profession about the nature of the past and the best way to write about it. The seminar prepares students of history to be productive researchers, insightful readers and effective writers. The seminar is required for history majors and should be completed before the senior year. Open only to sophomores and juniors. This counts toward the practice and theory requirement for the major. Prerequisite: history or international studies major or permission of instructor.