Ana Rosa Marginson

HDR student

My PhD research explores public health initiatives in the Philippines between 1939 and 1954, across the turbulent period of change from the late Commonwealth (after decades of American rule), the Japanese occupation, and the years following Philippine Independence. I am interested in the role that health played in the relationship between Filipinos and the American colonial state, how the Japanese regime used health to promote Pan-Asianism, and how health informed or was utilised by various Filipino resistance and nationalist groups throughout the period, including by the Hukbalahap Rebellion in the immediate post-Independence years.

Much prior research on health and medicine in the Philippines has examined the effect of the Filipino-American War on health or the creation of the public health service in the early American period. My work, however, is interested in the branches of continuity between the end of the colonial era (after the ‘Filipinization’ of public health was well under way) and the successive waves of control and change which followed. My research is less concerned with the overall effectiveness of public health measures than it is with the role they played in the shifting debate on Filipino nationalism and the creation of a civic society, especially as allegiances to America and interests in Asia clashed. Through the use of photographic sources I hope to better understand how Filipinos – both collectively, as practitioners/bureaucrats/public, and in their many different ethnic/regional/class groups – experienced public health and medicine throughout these changes of government and foreign occupations.

My supervisors are Associate Professor Susie Protschky and Professor David Lowe, and I am working with the Decolonisation and Photography in Southeast Asia project. 

I have an MA in Colonial & Global History from Leiden University, and a BA (hons) in English & History from Goldsmiths, University of London. In my spare time I co-host The Mayday Podcast: Tales of Mystery & Misadventure, a history podcast focused on stories of exploration and disaster in global history.


Australian Policy
 and History

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