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  • Professor Anne Digby

    Professor Emeritus in History

    School of History, Philosophy and Culture

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


    Phone number: +44 (0)1865 483708

    Email: adigby@brookes.ac.uk


    British social history from the eighteenth century to the present; social history of medicine and the history of African medicine.

    Professor Anne Digby's research ranges widely over the landscape of British social history from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries: from schooling and society to the New Poor Law, agrarian society in the nineteenth century to welfare policy in the twentieth. However, her primary current interest is in the social history of medicine.

    Areas of research include:

    • South African medicine;
    • medical markets and healthcare systems;
    • history of British social policy and welfare;
    • history of psychiatry.

    Her main research interest is the medical history of southern Africa. She has been particularly interested in medical pluralism and interactions between western and indigenous medicine in South Africa. Her book, Diversity and Division in Medicine: Health Care in South Africa from the 1800s,was published in 2006 by Peter Lang. Professor Digby has recently been working with historians from the University of Cape Town on the history of Groote Schuur Hospital, funded by a Wellcome Trust International Collaborative Award. The resulting book, At the Heart of Healing in Cape Town: Groote Schuur Hospital, 1938-2008 (Johannesburg, Jacana), jointly authored with Howard Phillips, and with the assistance of Harriet Deacon and Kirsten Thomson, will be published in November 2008. Currently, she is beginning to work on the structural imbalances in South African medicine and how and why these developed historically.Qustions to be examined include: Why were so many public and private resources concentrated in urban areas ? How successfully did agencies such as mission hospitals, health centres and clinics, outreach from institutions (including some collaboration with healers), and the activities of certain members of the medical and nursing professions - more especially their black members - modify this in order to provide services for rural inhabitants?


    • Digby A, Ernst W, Mukharji P, Crossing colonial historiographies: histories of colonial and indigenous medicines in transnational perspective, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2010)
      ISBN: 978-1-4438-2154-4
    • Digby A, Phillips H, At the heart of healing in Cape Town: Groote Schuur hospital, 1938-2008, Jacana Media (2008)
      ISBN: 9781770096424

    Journal articles

    • Digby A, 'Black Doctors and Discrimination Under South Africa's Apartheid Regime'
      Medical History 57 (2013) pp.269-290
      ISSN: 0025-7273 eISSN: 0025-7273
      Abstract Website
    • Digby A, 'Evidence, Encounters and Effects of South Africa's Reforming Gluckman National Health Services Commission, 1942-1944'
      South African Historical Journal 64 (2012) pp.187-205
      ISSN: 0258-2473 eISSN: 0258-2473
      Abstract Website
    • Digby A, 'The Bandwagon of Golden Opportunities? Healthcare in South Africas Bantustan Periphery'
      South African Historical Journal 64 (2012) pp.827-851
      ISSN: 0258-2473 eISSN: 0258-2473
      Abstract Website
    • Digby A, Sweet H, 'Social medicine and medical pluralism: the Valley Trust and Botha's Hill Health Centre, South Africa, 1940s to 2000s'
      Social History of Medicine 25 (2) (2011) pp.425-445
      ISSN: 0951-631X eISSN: 0951-631X
      Abstract Website
    • Digby A, 'The global and the local: changes at Groote Schuur Hospital'
      Lancet 374 (9692) (2009) pp.778-779
      ISSN: 0140-6736 eISSN: 0140-6736
      Abstract Website
    • Digby A, 'The medical history of South Africa: an overview'
      History Compass 6 (5) (2008) pp.1194-1210
      ISSN: 1478-0542 eISSN: 1478-0542
      Abstract Website
    • Digby A, 'Medicine, Race and the General Good: the Career of Thomas N G Te Water (1857-1926), South African Doctor and Medical Politician'
      Medical History 51 (2007) pp.37-58
      ISSN: 0025-7273 eISSN: 0025-7273
    • Digby A, 'Early Black Doctors in South Africa'
      Journal of African History 46 (2006) pp.427-454
      ISSN: 0021-8537 eISSN: 0021-8537

    Conference papers


    • Digby A, review of The Development of Modern Medicine in Non-western Countries: Historical Perspectives, in Social History of Medicine 23 (2010) pp.210-212
      ISSN: 0951-631X eISSN: 0951-631X
    • Digby A, review of The Politics of Madness: the State, Insanity and Society in England, 1845-1914, in British Journal for the History of Science 41 (2009) pp.283-285
      ISSN: 0007-0874 eISSN: 0007-0874
    • Digby A, review of Race, Maternity and the Politics of Birth Control in South Africa, 1910-39, in Journal of Southern African Studies 35 (2009) pp.268-269
      ISSN: 0305-7070 eISSN: 0305-7070
    • Digby A, Bynum WFB, Bynum HB, review of Dictionary of Medical Biography, in Medical History 52 (2008) pp.280-281
      ISSN: 0025-7273 eISSN: 0025-7273
    • Digby A, review of The African Aids Epidemic: a History, in South African Historical Journal (2008) pp.311-312
      ISSN: 0258-2473 eISSN: 0258-2473
    • Digby A, review of The Western Medical Tradition, 1800-2000, in English Historical Review 123 (2008) pp.483-485
      ISSN: 0013-8266 eISSN: 0013-8266
    • Digby A, review of Self-medication and the Trade in Medicine Within a Multi-ethnic Context: a Case Study of South Africa From the Mid-nineteenth to Mid-twentieth Centuries, in Social History of Medicine 18 (2006) pp.439-457
      ISSN: 0951-631X eISSN: 0951-631X
    • Digby A, review of Mental Health Care in Modern England: the Norfolk Lunatic Asylum, St Andrews Hospital, 1810-1998., in English Historical Review 121 (2006) pp.250-U24
      ISSN: 0013-8266 eISSN: 0013-8266
    • Digby A, review of St Marys: the History of a London Teaching Hospital., in History 90 (2005) pp.111-112
      ISSN: 0018-2648 eISSN: 0018-2648
    • Digby A, review of Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850-1995, in Medical History 47 (2003) pp.130-131
      ISSN: 0025-7273 eISSN: 0025-7273
    • Digby A, review of Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine, Vol 2, Making the Human Body Transparent: the Impact of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Research in General Practice. Drugs in Psychiatric Practice., in Medical History 45 (2001) pp.137-138
      ISSN: 0025-7273 eISSN: 0025-7273
    • Digby A, review of Becoming a Physician: Medical Education in Great-britain, France, Germany and the United-states - Bonner,tn, in Albion 29 (1997) pp.124-125
      ISSN: 0095-1390 eISSN: 0095-1390
    • Digby A, review of A Medical El Dorado? Colonial Medical Incomes and Practice at the Cape, in Social History of Medicine 8 (1996) pp.463-479
      ISSN: 0951-631X eISSN: 0951-631X
    • DIGBY A, review of The Victorian Governess - Hughes,k, in English Historical Review 111 (1996) pp.223-224
      ISSN: 0013-8266 eISSN: 0013-8266
    • Digby A, review of Power and the Professions in Britain, 1700-1850 - Corfield,p, in Economic History Review 49 (1996) pp.836-836
      ISSN: 0013-0117 eISSN: 0013-0117
    • DIGBY A, review of Maternity and Gender Policies - Women and the Rise of the European States, 1880s-1950s - Bock,g, Thane,p, in History 78 (1993) pp.144-144
      ISSN: 0018-2648 eISSN: 0018-2648

    Other publications