Lola Wilhelm

Postdoctoral Researcher FNS


Lola Wilhelm is a modern historian whose teaching and research interests span medicine, science and technology; trans-imperial European and African history; corporate capitalism; and the history of development and humanitarianism in the 19th and 20th century.

Lola is a member of the Swiss National Science Foundation project "Neverending infectious diseases". Her current work focuses on the history of the pharmaceutical industry and its influence over medical knowledge and global health.

She has held the positions of Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, of visiting DPhil student at the University of Oxford, and of teaching assistant at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. She has a PhD in International History from the Graduate Institute.

Prior to starting her academic career she worked in the humanitarian sector, including as an analyst in Guinea during the Ebola outbreak of 2014-15.
  • History of colonial medicine and global health
  • History of Switzerland, trans-imperial history of Europe and Africa, history of humanitarianism and development
  • Business history; history of the pharmaceutical industry
  • History of food and nutrition
Lola Wilhelm solo- and team-teaches across the history and development studies curricula. Her teaching and supervision specialisms include:
  • Historiography and historical methods
  • History of medicine, science and technology
  • Economic history ; business history
  • Transnational and global history
  • Europe and the world (19th-20th century)
  • Formulating development: how Nestlé shaped international aid. Accepted (under contract) at Manchester University Press
  • “Sometimes, penicillin doesn’t work’: Why the antibiotic revolution failed to curb venereal diseases, 1950-1970” (in preparation) 
  • “Sabine Pitteloud, Les multinationales dans l’arène politique”, Business History Review, 2023.
  • “Business et santé infantile mondiale. La stratégie médicale de Nestlé au sein des réseaux pédiatriques et humanitaires transnationaux”, Monde(s), vol. 20, no. 2, 2021, pp. 49-66.
  • “‘One of the Most Urgent Problems to Solve’: Malnutrition, Trans-Imperial Nutrition Science, and Nestlé's Medical Pursuits in Late Colonial Africa”, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 48:5, pp. 914-933, 2020.