School of Social Sciences

Vanessa Noble

Vanessa Noble

Senior Lecturer



Contact Number 031-260-3636

CampusHoward College Campus

Office Address MTB216

Last Updated 2 years ago

Degrees Held

  • B.A., B.A. (Hons)
  • M.A. (Natal)
  • PhD (University of Michigan).

Research Interests

  • My research focuses on a number of issues to do with the social history of health, healing and diseases in Africa more broadly, but with a particular interest in biomedicine, especially the history of medical education and professionalization; missionary medicine; medical institutions; different categories of health care providers; the complexities of medical pluralism and brokerage; histories of scientific knowledge production and circulations, including transnationally; race, class and gender differentials in science and medicine; the links between politics, activism and medicine; and histories of public health and community-oriented primary health care in the region of southern Africa. I also have an interest in work on the history of women and gender.

Teaching Interests Courses taught in recent years

Other courses taught in the past

  • Empires of the Modern World
  • Pre-colonial African History
  • Women and Gender in History
  • Topics in Twentieth Century History
  • The History of KwaZulu-Natal

Selected Publications

Selected Awards and Professional Honours

  • Member of the Campbell Archive Collections Advisory Committee, 2017 to date.
  • Member of the Alan Paton Centre and Struggle Archive Advisory Committee, 2011 to date.
  • Member of the Southern African Historical Society, 2008 to date.
  • Editorial board member of the Cambridge journal, Medical History, 2015 to 2017.
  • Co-editor of the Journal of Natal and Zulu History, 2006-2009
  • Swiss South Africa Joint Research Programme (SSAJRP) short-stay grant, History Department, University of Basel, 2012.
  • Wellcome Trust (UK) small grant was awarded to fund an international workshop in August entitled “New Directions in the Histories of Health, Healing and Medicine in African Contexts” (this application was jointly made with Julie Parle), 2012.
  • Awards granted whilst studying for my PhD between 1999 and 2005:
    • University of Michigan History Department Fellowships
    • Centre for African and African-American Studies/South African Initiatives Office Research Grant
    • African Initiative Fellowship
    • Rackham Summer Fellowship – History
    • Gladys Davis Fellowship
    • Rackham Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship
    • Robin I. Thevenet Memorial Fellowship
    • Rackham International Travel Grant
    • Women’s Studies D’Arms Summer Research Travel Grant
  • University of Natal Postgraduate Scholarship, 1997 and 1998
  • Centre for Science Development (CSD) Postgraduate Scholarship for Advanced Study in the Human Sciences, 1997 and 1998.

Student Supervision

Current Research Projects/Activities

  • Social histories of health, healing and medicine in South Africa
  • A collaborative and transnational Swiss-South Africa research project with Dr Marcel Dreier on the history of rural health care and missionary medicine in the Eastern Cape.