Curtis Platson

MA Candidate

BA in History, Simon Fraser University, 2018

Supervisor: Aaron Windel

Research Interests

British Empire, History of Medicine, Colonial Africa.

Research Description

My study demonstrates that the colonial dispensary across the British Empire became more than simply a small, idle medical service in the past. My argument is twofold. First, I argue that the emergence of colonial dispensaries in the late-nineteenth century constituted a new kind of medical service model that would be replicated in the British Empire. My second argument explores an important reform movement throughout the 1920s and 1930s that featured colonial dispensaries alongside new-widespread approaches to British colonial state administration. I argue that an important catalyst for the reform movement across the British colonial states in East Africa was the arrival of an outsourced medical service model and a conceptual toolkit that oriented colonial dispensaries for the purpose of state administration. From the end of the nineteenth century up until the eve of World War Two, colonial dispensaries became conceptualized as part of the British Empire’s eclectic approach to implement new strategies of power, government, and rule. Occurring across different colonial contexts, colonial dispensaries were systematically utilized for the expedite state outreach and control in rural spaces.

Working Thesis Title

The Colonial Dispensaries and the British Colonial State in Africa


Hiking, swimming, and craft beer making.


  • 2019 - GRITA
  • 2018 - Graduate Fellowship

Teaching Assistantships

  • HIST 225 (Spring 2019 & 2020)
  • HIST 146 (Fall 2019)
  • HIST 344 (Summer 2020). 

Research Assistantships

  • 2017 - Junior Jesus Custodianship