Data and Disease in Historical Perspective Workshop

On 7 and 8 June 2023, Thandeka Cochrane, Jennifer Fraser and David Reubi presented a couple of papers at a workshop on Data and Disease in Historical Perspective organised by John Nott and Lukas Engelmann at the University of Edinburgh. In the first paper, entitled Social Surveys and the Oncological Exploration of Late Colonial Africa, David and his colleagues examined the series of cancer surveys that were conducted by colonial doctors, statisticians and sociologists in the 1950s and 1960s under the aegis of geographical pathology, arguing that they represent an important colonial moment in the making of today’s risk factor epidemiology of chronic disease. In the second paper, entitled Meticulous Records: Paper Technologies and the Making of Epidemiology Data in 1970s Uganda, Thandeka and Jenn explored the meticulous collection practices and paper technologies deployed by a British missionary doctor, Ted Williams, to record cancer cases in postcolonial Uganda for an international project on viral cancers led by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the US National Cancer Institute. Thandeka and Jenn are now are reworking and expanding the second paper for publication in a Special Issue featuring some of the best papers from the workshop and edited by John and Lukas.