- Dr Lawrence Dritsas
- Lecturer; Deputy Director of the Undergraduate School
- Top floor A.4 Chisholm House High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
- +44 (0)131 650 4011
- Research Interests
- Science & technology studies, History of science, Colonial/imperial history, Decolonisation, global histories of science technology and medicine, Scottish history, Missionary Encounter
Guidance and Feedback Hours
- During semester time I am available 11-1 on Mondays, or by appointment.
Lawrence Dritsas began his studies in the United States (BA, Penn State; MS, Virginia Tech) and has interdisciplinary training in the humanities and natural and social sciences. He volunteered as a secondary school biology teacher with the US Peace Corps in Malawi in the late 1990s. In 2005 he completed his PhD at the Centre of African Studies in Edinburgh with a study of the scientific exploration of Africa in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a Lecturer in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies and a member of the Science Studies Unit.
Generally, the history and sociology of science in Africa. Within this large frame, Lawrence is interested in historical geographies of scientific knowledge in relation to colonial empires; the links between science, technology and development practices; the history of scientific expeditions (particularly the exploration of Africa) and the history of museum collections. He also uses his research to engage with the 'science studies of science fiction': exploring how histories of exploration and science fiction interact and shape how we think about the future of human activity in our solar system.
Principal Investigator: ‘Scottish collectors and collecting in central Africa, 1870–1930’ funded by Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. You can learn more about this project at National Museums Scotland.
Associate Researcher: 'Investigating Networks of Zoonisis Innovation' funded by European Research Council. PI: Prof James Smith. Currently writing articles on the British Colonial Office's Tsetse Fly and Trypanosomiasis Committee 1940 to 1960.
'Tsetse Flies, Trypanosomes and the Organisation of Research in the British Colonial Office, 1942–1950' under review
2014 'An Archive of Identity: the Central African Archives and Southern Rhodesian History' Archival Science 14, no.1: pp. 35-54. (with Joan Haig)
2013 '"Pilgrimage to Chipundu": Livingstone's Legacies among Scottish Missionaries in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia, 1950s-1970s' Scottish Geographical Journal 129, no. 3-4: 243-257. (with Joan Haig)
2012 'Livingstone, Natural Science and the Zambesi Expedition' in Sarah Worden, ed. David Livingstone: Man, Myth and Legacy. National Museums Scotland
2011 'Expeditionary Science: Conflicts of Method in Mid-Nineteenth Century Geographical Discovery', in Charles WJ Withers and David Livingstone, eds. Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science. University of Chicago Press.
2010 Zambesi: David Livingstone and Expeditionary Science in Africa (IB Tauris)
2006 'Civilising Missions, Natural History and British Industry: Livingstone in the Zambezi', Endeavour, 36, no. 2: 50-54
2005 'From Lake Nyassa to Philadelphia: a Geography of the Zambesi Expedition', 1858-64, The British Journal for the History of Science 38, no. 1: 35-52
2004 'Treasures of Kew: David Livingstone, John Kirk, and Buaze Fibre', Kew, n.46 (September), p. 41
Current PhD Students
with working titles
Dayana Arriffin: Science in the Philippines under American rule
Daniel Thorpe: Aerospace in Nigeria
Sergio Orozco-Echeverri: Laws of nature from Descartes to Newton
Janelle Winters: The World Bank, Investment in Tropical Diseases, and the Road to Mass-Drug Administration: a case study of the onchocerciasis control programme (1974–2002)
Past PhD Students
Vera Mugittu: Meeting the Social cost of Building Systems to Enable Innovation in Subsistence-based Agriculture: an Analysis of a DFID-funded Commercialisation Process of the Indigenous Poultry Inductry in Tanzania
Eva Hoffmann Computer Science and Higher Education in Afghanistan
Alli Coyle School Partnerships in African Development: exploring the contemporary relationship between Scotland and Malawi
Kevin Bardosh Public Health at the Margins: Local Realities and the Control of Neglected Tropical Disease in Eastern Africa
Dr Shishusri Pradhan From Green Revolution to Green Gold: the evolution of the Indian National Mission on Biodiesel
Dr Shaun Ruysenaar The Genesis and Anatomy of the Industrial Biofuels Strategy of South Africa.
Dr Annalisa Urbano Imagining the Nation, Crafting the State: the politics of nationalism and decolonisation in Somalia
Liz Ng'ang'a (The Open University) Scientific Leadership in Developing Countries: A case study of the Academy of Sciences for Developing World (TWAS)
Those interested in my areas of research may also want to look at the following taught MSc programme:
A video summary of my current research project is available at
Topics interested in supervising
Lawrence is happy to supervise research students interested in the history of science in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly topics related to global history, exploration, travel, imperialism and colonialism. Prospective students are encouraged to contact him directly.
If you are interested in being supervised by Lawrence Dritsas, please see the links below for more information: