Rana A. Hogarth

 Rana Hogarth

Contact Information

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


  • 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

Selected Publications


Hogarth, Rana A Medicalizing Blackness Making Racial Difference in the Atlantic World, 1780-1840 Chapel Hill University of North Carolina Press 2017. website.

Journal Articles

To “excite the curiosity, and gratify the beholder…:” Displaying Dappled Skin and Crafting Racial Identity in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 18 1 2018, p. 180-212.
The Strange Case of Hannah West: Skin Colour and the Search for Racial Difference Social History of Medicine 29 3 2016, p. 557-572.
Charity and terror in eighteenth-century Jamaica: The Kingston Hospital and Asylum for Deserted ‘Negroes’ African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal 10 3 2017, p. 281-298.

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