Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization

Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago

portrait of Neil Brenner
portrait of Neil Brenner

Christopher Kindell

Assistant Instructional Professor, Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU)
2023–24 Coordinator of BA Theses, CEGU

Christopher Kindell is a historian of public health, medicine, and technology from the eighteenth century to the present. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago (2019) and an M.Sc. in History from the University of Edinburgh (2011). Before joining the Environmental and Urban Studies Program at Chicago, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota (2021-22) and a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Chicago (2019-2021). Broadly speaking, his research examines how public health and medical professionals in urban environments responded to the global spread of infectious diseases. His current book manuscript, Pasteurizing the Pacific: Public Health, Empire, and the Making of the Urban Pacific World,  explores how health officials, Native Hawaiians, and East Asian immigrants transformed Honolulu from a passive harbor into a disease-screening checkpoint for Hawai‘i, the Pacific, and America’s overseas empire. More recently, he has been investigating how global cities actively collaborated with local residents when designing and implementing COVID-19-related health policies. He teaches courses on the history of public health, medicine, technology, and the environment; race, indigeneity, and migration; and American imperialism in the Pacific World.


Selected Publications

Co-Authored with Laura Valdés Cano, “Participatory Governance in Local Care Programs: Lessons from Bogotá and Chicago,” Metropolis and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (2022).

“Brothel of the Pacific: Syphilis and the Urban Regulation of Laikini Wāhine in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, 1855-1875,” The Journal of Pacific History 55, no. 1 (2020): 18-36.

Review: Kate Fullagar and Michael McDonnell, eds., Facing Empire: Indigenous Experiences in a Revolutionary Age (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), Agricultural History 95, no. 1 (2021): 187-189.

Review: Tiffany Lani Ing, Reclaiming Kalākaua: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives on a Hawaiian Sovereign (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2019), The Journal of Pacific History 56, no. 1 (2021): 87-88.


Public Engagements

“Here’s what Hawaii can learn from travel quarantines in other states,” Interview with Honolulu Civil Beat, November 11, 2020

“Reopening Chicago after the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918,” Interview with WGN Radio 720, April 21, 2020

“How Can Chicago Reopen After Coronavirus? Here’s How We Did It After 1918’s Spanish Flu,” Interview with Block Club Chicago, April 15, 2020

“What Could a Summer Without Festivals Look Like in Chicago?” Interview with Block Club Chicago, April 14, 2020

“Why quarantines are so difficult to implement: Lessons from the 1800s,” Interview with UChicago News, March 24, 2020