IMG_2020James L.A. Webb, Jr. is Professor of History at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Jim is a pioneer in the field of historical epidemiology. His work integrates approaches from the biological sciences and the social sciences to produce perspectives that are useful to historians, practitioners, and planners in the field of global public health. He is the founding editor of the series Perspectives on Global Health at the Ohio University Press. He is currently working on an historical epidemiology of diarrheal diseases and interventions.

Jim teaches courses in world history, ecological history, African health history, and global health history.  He is the founding editor of the Series in Ecology and History at the Ohio University Press.  He is the author of The Long Struggle Against Malaria in Tropical Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2014); Global Health In Africa: Historical Perspectives on Disease Control (Ohio University Press, 2013), co-edited with T. Giles-Vernick; Humanity’s Burden: A Global History of Malaria (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Tropical Pioneers: Human Agency and Ecological Change in the Highlands of Sri Lanka, 1800-1900 (Ohio University Press, 2002), and Desert Frontier: Ecological and Economic Change along the Western Sahel, 1600-1850 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1995).


Beginning in early 2017, Jim will hold a six-month writing fellowship at the Rachel Carson Center at the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich and at the University of Zurich, where he will to complete a book manuscript entitled The Guts of the Matter: Intestinal Disease and Human History.

In the spring of 2016, Jim held the Sanofi Chair in Public Health at the Centre Virchow-Villermé at the Université de Paris (Descartes).

In June, Jim will gave a talk at the French Embassy in Berlin on “Historical Perspectives on Climate Change and Disease” as part of a CVV workshop on climate, migration, and health.

In April, Jim gave talks on “Historical Perspectives on Aedes Aegypti Suppression and Eradication” at the Zika International Meeting, Institut Pasteur, Paris;  the history of malaria eradication pilot projects at a conference on Health and Science in the African World at the University of Wisconsin, Madison ; and “Global Perspectives on Sanitation in Africa” at the University of New England-Tangier (Morocco).

Check out Jim’s new essays:

Aedes aegypti suppression in the Americas- historical perspectives. The Lancet. Vol. 388 (2016).

Global Health Interventions in Africa,  Institute Letter, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, Spring 2016.

Globalization of Disease, 1300 to 1900, The Cambridge World History (2015).

The Historical Epidemiology of Contemporary Disease Challenges.  The Lancet. Vol. 385 (2015).