Hugh Cagle portrait
  • Assistant Professor, History
  • Director of International Studies, College Of Humanities


  • PhD, Department of History, Rutgers University, 9/2011


I am trained in Latin American history (especially Brazil), the history of science, and comparative colonial history. My first book manuscript is a study of the origins of ‘tropical medicine’ as a unified field of intellectual inquiry. I write it not from the perspective of metropolitan Europe but with case studies drawn from Portugal’s—and hence Europe’s—earliest and most important tropical colonies: Goa (India), Salvador da Bahia (Brazil), and Luanda (Angola). This is an unusual history of science to be sure. I am not concerned with metropolitan ideas and institutions, or with the work of European imperialists, colonial administrators, or university-trained physicians. My protagonists were neither prominent nor powerful. Rarely were they Christian or European. Often they were women and many of them were enslaved. Nevertheless, they substantively transformed the practice of medicine in all of Portugal's colonies. Such an iconoclastic tale of ‘scientific revolution’ will, I hope, challenge conventional interpretations of the history of both science and medicine.

My teaching, too, is marked by a concern for historical debates, a penchant for comparison, and an emphasis on global connections. I am currently teaching "Science and Empire" and a course for our business school on “Brazil and the Global Economy, 1500 to Now.” Other courses I teach include a history of colonial Latin America, a course on "Empire and Exploration, 1450-1800," and the Senior Seminar on colonialism and imperialism.