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Rana A. Hogarth

Profile picture for Rana A. Hogarth

Contact Information

419A Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright St.
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801

Associate Professor


My research focuses on the medical and scientific constructions of race during the era of slavery and beyond. My first book, Medicalizing Blackness: Making Racial Difference in the Atlantic World, 1780-1840, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2017. In it, I examine how white physicians “medicalized” blackness— a term I use to describe the process by which white physicians defined blackness as a medically  significant marker of difference in slave societies of the American Atlantic.

My second project examines the genealogy and deployment of the terms used describe mixed race offspring of black and white people (“mulatto,” “quadroon,” etc.) in American medical and lay discourse.  It traces how these terms were used in colonial Caribbean contexts and in mainland North America during the era of slavery, and illuminates how American eugenicists adopted these terms to correlate mental and physical capabilities of mixed race people to their racial ancestral make up. In doing so, they refashioned these terms from crude labels to precision tools with valid scientific meanings. In the early twentieth century, American eugenicists looked southward to the Caribbean to conduct “race crossing” studies, viewing that region as an ideal experimental site to undertake the study of a topic considered taboo in the United States during that time.  The results of their studies gave credence to the notion that race was a visual and quantifiable biological feature and confirmed white anxieties about the perils of racial mixing. Finally, this project centers Caribbean ex-slave colonies as experimental spaces that allowed eugenicists to extract data from mixed race people for the benefit of American scientists and the lay public.

Research Interests

Atlantic World History, History of Medicine, Slavery, Race
African American History


Ph.D., Yale University, 2012
M.H.S. (Health Policy) Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2004
B.A., Yale University, 2002

Awards and Honors

NEH Postdoctoral Fellowship, Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, 2022

Helen Corley Petit Scholar, 2020-2021

Provost's Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2020

LAS Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2020

George S. & Gladys W. Queen Award for Excellence in Teaching, History Department, University of Illinois, 2020




Courses Taught

HIST 389: Race and Revolutions
HIST 275: African American History to 1877
HIST 570: Slavery and Society
HIST 483/AFRO 466: Race, Science, and Medicine
HIST 475: Formation of US Public Health
HIST 367: History of Western Medicine
HIST 200: The Atlantic World: Slavery, Disease and Society

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, History
Associate Professor, Center for African Studies

Recent Publications

Hogarth, R. A. (2021). Race, place, and power in the production of medical knowledge: Perspectives from the Greater Caribbean. History Compass, 19(11), Article e12694.

Hogarth, R. (2019). A contemporary black perspective on the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. American journal of public health, 109(10), 1337-1338.

Hogarth, R. (2019). Of black skin and biopower: Lessons from the eighteenth century. American Quarterly, 71(3), 837-847.

Hogarth, R. A. (2019). The myth of innate racial differences between white and black people's bodies: Lessons from the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. American journal of public health, 109(10), 1339-1341.

Hogarth, R. (2017). Charity and terror in eighteenth-century Jamaica: The Kingston Hospital and Asylum for Deserted ‘Negroes’. African and Black Diaspora, 10(3), 281-298.

View all publications on Illinois Experts