Krista Maglen

Associate Professor, Department of History

Department of History

IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

I am a historian of medicine, animals and the environment. In particular, I research the ways that perceptions of risk, whether in relation to disease or dangerous animals, have constructed cultural, social, and political responses and have framed and demarcated spaces, geographies, and national identities within the period from the 1850s to the 1950s. My work ranges from Britain to Australia, the United States, and parts of the British Empire through the movement of migrants and colonists whose settlement in new places was shaped by the perceived dangers of disease or animals within the environment.

My first book, The English System: Quarantine, Immigration and the Making of a Port Sanitary Zone, was published by Manchester University Press in 2014. The book has been shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize for best first book published in 2014 on a British or Irish history subject.

My new project takes my interests in ideas about perceived and real dangers, borders and category making, to Australia. Focusing on the dangerous native animals of Australia, I place Europeans in the penal colonies, as well as later free settlements, within a landscape of creatures that helped to set the spatial boundaries of settlement while not not always respecting the creation of colonized space or ‘civilised’ domains. The medical and environmental concerns and consequences of these interspecies interactions were mediated and understood through local, imperial and global knowledge sharing. Yet, while I look outward in my analysis, I am also interested in the small, scuttling and slithering creatures that hid in the woodpiles and under the floors of European homes and workplaces, and lurked just beneath the surface of the water that surrounded the settlements.

I am President of the Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America (ANZSANA).

Honors and Awards

  • Shortlisted for Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize, 2015
  • Trustees' Teaching Award
  • Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University Of Oxford, 2002-2005
  • University Of Glasgow History Of Medicine Prize, 2002

Research Interests

  • History of Medicine
  • Immigration
  • Animal Studies
  • Australia
  • Modern Britain


  • B.A. at University of Melbourne
  • M.Phil. at University of Glasgow 
  • D. Phil. at University of Glasgow



  • The English System: Quarantine, Immigration and the Making of a Port Sanitary Zone, (Manchester University Press, February 2014)
  • Co-Editor, Medicine, Law and Public Policy in Scotland 1850-1980: Essays Presented to Anne Crowther (Dundee/Edinburgh University Press, 2011)

Refereed Articles + Chapters

  • FORTHCOMING: "The Monster's Mouth : Dangerous Animals and the European Settlement of Australia", Sarah Crockram and Andrew Wells (eds)," Interspecies Interactions: Animals and Humans between the Middle Ages and Modernity,(London: Routledge, 2016)
  • FORTHCOMING: "'An Alligator Got Betty': Dangerous Animals as Historical Agents," Environment and History
  • "Inside Truths: 'Truth' and Mental Illness in the Australian Asylum Seeker and Detention Debates," Monash Bioethics Review, Vol. 26, No. 4, (October 2007), pp. 47-66
  • "Health and Health Care," Encyclopaedia of Maritime History, (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • "Straits: An Overview," Encyclopaedia of Maritime History, (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • "'In This Miserable Spot Called Quarantine:' The Healthy and Unhealthy in Nineteenth Century Australian and Pacific Quarantine Stations" Science in Context, Vol. 19, No. 3, (September, 2006), pp. 317-336
  • "Quarantined: Exploring Personal Accounts of Incarceration in Australian and Pacific Quarantine Stations in the Nineteenth Century", Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 91, No. 1, (June, 2005), pp. 1-14
  • "A World Apart: Geography, Australian Quarantine, and the Mother Country", Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences Vol. 60, No. 2, (April, 2005), pp. 196-217
  • "Importing Trachoma: The Introduction into Britain of American Ideas of an ‘Immigrant Disease", 1892-1906", Immigrants and Minorities, Vol. 25, No. 1, (March, 2005), pp. 80-99
  • "Politics of Quarantine in the 19th Century", Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 290, No.21, (December 3, 2003), p. 2873.
  • "The First Line of Defence": British Quarantine and the Port Sanitary Authorities in the Nineteenth Century", Social History of Medicine, Vol. 15, No. 3, (2002), pp. 413-428