Urmi Willoughby

Urmi Engineer Willoughby

Associate Professor of History
On Sabbatical Fall 2023

With Pitzer Since: 2020
Field Group: History
Campus Address: Scott Hall 205
Campus Email: [email protected]
Office Hours: See Faculty Directory

Educational Background

PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz, History
MA, University of California, Santa Cruz, History
BA, Wake Forest University, History and Studio Art

Research Interests

Professor Willoughby’s research focuses on disease and ecology in North America, with a focus on the Mississippi Valley, Gulf South, and Caribbean region. She approaches histories of disease and medicine from a global and ecological perspective, and draws connections between the southern United States, the colonial Atlantic, and South Asia. She has held fellowships at Colby College, the University of Pittsburgh’s World History Center, and was the 2019-2020 Molina Fellow in the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences at the Huntington Library. Her first book, Yellow Fever, Race, and Ecology in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, was published in Louisiana University Press’s series on “The Natural World of the Gulf South.” It was awarded the 2017 Williams prize for best book in Louisiana history. Her current project, titled Cultivating Malaria: The Historical Ecology of Fever in Early America, is an environmental and cultural history of malaria in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Recent Courses

Ecological History (HIST158)

Disease and Disasters in North American History (HIST 065)

Historical Epidemiology (HIST 162)

Food and Agriculture (HIST 060)

History of New Orleans (HIST 150)

North American Agriculture

Selected Publications


Yellow Fever, Race, and Ecology in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans (Louisiana State University Press, 2017).

A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History, with co-author Merry Wiesner-Hanks (Duke University Press, 2018).


“Domesticated Mosquitoes: Colonization and the Growth of Mosquito Habitats in North America,” in Marcus Hall and Dan Tamir eds., Mosquitopia: The Place of Pests in a Healthy World (Routledge Press, 2021).

“Race, Health, and Environment,” in Stephanie Foote and Jeffrey J. Cohen eds., The Cambridge Companion to the Environmental Humanities (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

“Globalization and the Exchange of Medical Knowledge and Practice in Asia,” editor of special issue of The Asian Review of World Histories (February 2018), with Kelly H. Jones.

“The Ecology of Yellow Fever in Antebellum New Orleans: Sugar, Water Control, and Urban Development,” Arcadia (Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Spring 2018).

“Epidemics, Empire, and Eradication: Global Health and Yellow Fever Control in New Orleans,” in Cindy Ermus ed., Environmental Disaster in the Gulf South: Two Centuries of Catastrophe, Risk, and Resilience (Louisiana University Press, 2018).

“Sugar Revisited: Sweetness and the Environment in the Early Modern World,” in Giorgio Riello and Anne Gerritsen eds., The Global Lives of Things: Materiality, Material Culture and Commodities in the First Global Age (Routledge Press, 2015).

Page last updated on December 4, 2023