Helen Tilley is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Northwestern University. She examines medical, environmental, and human sciences in colonial and post-colonial Africa, emphasizing intersections with environmental history, development studies, legal history, and global history. Her book, Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge (Chicago, 2011) explores the dynamic interplay between scientific research and imperialism in British Africa between 1870 and 1950.
Her current project focuses on the history of African decolonization, global governance, and the ethnoscientific projects that accompanied state building in the colonial and Cold War era. She is investigating, in particular, the different scientific studies and legal interventions in the twentieth century that originally helped to construct “traditional medicine” as a viable category of research and policy-making.
This PECE essay helps to answer the STS Across Borders analytic question: “What people, projects, and products exemplify how this STS formation has developed over time?”
This essay highlights prominant and upcoming individuals working on critical science and technology issues in Africa and is part of a broader exhibit on "STS in Africa."