Lauren Minsky, Assistant Professor of History

University of Pennsylvania, PhDOffice Address:

NYUAD PO Box 129188 Abu Dhabi, UAEEmail:


971 2 628 4184Field of Study:

South AsiaAreas of Research/Interest:

South Asia; Indian Ocean; World; Agrarian Environments; Global Public Health; History of Science, Technology and Medicine

External Affiliations:

Centre for Global Health Histories, University of York; Editorial Advisory Board, “Medical History”

Research Description:

Lauren Minsky’s research integrates histories of environment, health, medicine, and material religion in the Indian Ocean world, with a past focus on the Punjab and Indus Valley and a current focus on pan-oceanic networks that span the wider region, including the Gulf. Her courses at NYUAD include a core course on Disease and Society and several history electives that include: South Asia in the Indian Ocean world; Islam in the Indian Ocean world; Global Environmental History; and Global History of Medicine.


Lauren Minsky received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She joined NYUAD after spending three years as an Assistant Professor of History at North Carolina State University and a year as a Mellon Fellow for Assistant Professors at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has also held a Fulbright-Hays fellowship from the US Department of Education; IDRF and Book fellowships from the Social Science Research Council; a Title VI Language and Area Studies fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania; and a Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Since 2012, Minsky has served as a member of the Editorial Board for the journal Medical History. She is currently engaged in several collaborative projects, including serving as co-organizer (with Akbar Keshodkar) of an interdisciplinary international conference on “Cosmopolitan Currents in the Indian Ocean: New Conceptual Models for Studying Cultural Integration and Change,” and (with Martin Klimke, Mark Swislocki, and David Ludden) of an international conference on “Rethinking Area in Historical Studies” for the NYUAD Institute.


Lauren Minsky is the recipient of Fulbright-Hays, SSRC-IDRF, and SSRC Book fellowships, and a former member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Selected Works:

Cultivating Health: Commercial Agriculture, Material Religion, and Collective Healing in the Punjab from Late Medieval to Modern Times (book manuscript in progress).

“Sanitizing Commercialization: Health and the Politics of ‘Waste’ in Colonial Punjab” in Local Subversions of Colonial Cultures: Commodities and Anti-commodities in Global History, Sandip Hazareesingh and Harro Maat, eds.  Under review with Palgrave Macmillan.

“Of Health and Harvests: Seasonal Mortality and Commercial Rice Cultivation in the Punjab and Bengal Regions of South Asia” in Francesca Bray, Peter Coclanis, Edda Fields-Black, and Dagmar Schaefer, eds.Rice: A Global Networks and New Histories (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2014).

“South Asian Environmental History” in Economic and Political Weekly.  Vol. XLIX, No. 23, June 09, 2014.  A Review of Deepak Kumar, Vinita Damodaran and Rohan D’Souza, eds.  The British Empire and the Natural World: Environmental Encounters in South Asia.  New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Pursuing Protection from Disease: The Making of Smallpox Prophylactic Practice in Colonial Punjab,” inBulletin of the History of Medicine, Spring 2009, 83: 163-189.

Review of: Gunnel Cederlöf, Landscapes and the Law: Environmental Politics, Regional Histories, and Contests Over Nature.
Ranikhet, India: Permanent Black, 2008. In Environmental History, v.14, no.2, April 2009: 379 – 380.

Review of: Joseph Morgan Hodge, Triumph of the Expert: Agrarian Doctrines of Development and the Legacies of British Colonialism. Series in Ecology and History, Ohio University Press. In Journal of British Studies, v.47 no.3 July 2008: 730-731.

“Re-thinking Therapeutic Efficacy: Environment and Medical Development in Colonial Punjab,”
in Wellcome History, Issue 34, Spring 2007, p. 4-5.

Current Courses