Karen Brown

Karen Brown is currently an ESRC Research Fellow at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford. She has published a number of papers that deal with environmental and veterinary history in South Africa.

Listed in: African Studies · Food Studies · Environmental Policy · Nature · Medicine · History · Environmental History




Mad Dogs and Meerkats · A History of Resurgent Rabies in Southern Africa
By Karen Brown

Through the ages, rabies has exemplified the danger of diseases that transfer from wild animals to humans and their domestic stock. In South Africa, rabies has been on the rise since the latter part of the twentieth century despite the availability of postexposure vaccines and regular inoculation campaigns for dogs. In Mad Dogs and Meerkats: A History of Resurgent Rabies in Southern Africa, Karen Brown links the increase of rabies to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“Brown has done a brilliant piece of detective work to trace the erratic progress of the disease through the region in the twentieth century. She integrates an innovative history of science and medicine with a complex understanding of the ecology of disease. All of this is told in an engaging narrative which captures the cultural and political significance of rabies in societies riven by divisions of class and race.”

William Beinart, coauthor of Environment and Empire




Healing the Herds · Disease, Livestock Economies, and the Globalization of Veterinary Medicine
Edited by Karen Brown and Daniel Gilfoyle

During the early 1990s, the ability of dangerous diseases to pass between animals and humans was brought once more to the public consciousness. These concerns continue to raise questions about how livestock diseases have been managed over time and in different social, economic, and political circumstances.

“The history of veterinary medicine told from anything other than a triumphalist perspective, usually with a nationalist slant, is rare. Essays in this outstanding collection cover rural as well as urban issues in veterinary disease and science from the eighteenth century to the present. The book will attract a wide range of readers from veterinary historians to all those interested in why livestock has been and is important to society.”

Diana K. Davis, University of California