|HI237||South Africa: A History in Five Epidemics||A|
|HI276||Patterns and Processes in World History||A|
|HI356||Cultures and Identities of the British Empire||A|
|HI497||Brave New World: Histories of Assisted Reproductive Technology||A|
- PhD, Modern History, Birkbeck, University of London
- BA (Hons), MA, Modern History, Stellenbosch University
Areas of Expertise
- Modern Africa, with a focus on South Africa
- The nineteenth- and twentieth-century British Empire
- Histories of age, with an emphasis on histories of childhood and youth
- Histories of gender, sexuality, and reproduction
Teaching and Research
I teach HI276 Patterns and Process in World History, and offer introductory and advanced courses on African history, the history of the British Empire, and histories of gender, sexuality, and reproduction.
As an historian of age, my career thus far has focused on histories of childhood and youth in nineteenth- and twentieth-century South Africa, Africa, and the British Empire. I have argued that age is a crucial vector of power in societies. Like race, gender, and class, age determines who has access to different kinds of power and how, at particular places and moments. In my first book project, Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhood, 1860-1895 (2015), I examine how the category of innocent childhood was constructed alongside racial identities, associating innocence with whiteness.
My second book, Childhood and Youth in African History (2022), is the first account of the scholarship on histories of children, childhood, young people, and youth in Africa, and considers the relationship between histories of culturally and socially defined age categories, and the variety and complexity of the lives of the youngest members of Africa’s societies, who were often at the sharp edge of the imposition and contestation of colonial rule.
My interest in histories of age and gender and sexuality converge in two current projects. The first, on histories of sex education in modern South Africa, argues that age in intersection with race, in particular, became a vehicle for imagining a range of political futures during segregation, apartheid, and the post-1994 era. The second has been made possible by a New Directions Fellowship from the Mellon Foundation. Focusing on the British Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it explores how women in a range of locations understood themselves as they underwent perimenopause and menopause.
I have also published on histories of girlhood, women's education, and the women's suffrage movement in South Africa; the nineteenth-century Dutch Reformed Church in the Cape Colony; and on women's memoir and the anti-apartheid movement. My writing has appeared in Nursing Clio, The Historical Recipes Project, Africa is a Country, The Conversation, and the New Humanist, among other publications.
Before moving to Maine, I was Senior Researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, funded by a Research Career Advancement Fellowship from South Africa's National Research Foundation. I have also taught and held postdoctoral positions at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Portrait: Sophie Davidson.
Childhood and Youth in African History (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).
Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhood, 1860-1895, Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
‘South African Women’s Memoir as Archive and Historiography,’ African Studies, Intimate Archives: Interventions on Gender, Sexuality, and Intimacies, vol. 81, no. 3-4 (2022), pp. 266-285.
‘Training for Citizenship: The Women’s Suffrage Movement and Modernising the State in Early Twentieth-Century South Africa,’ Gender & History, vol. 34, no. 1 (March 2022), pp. 116-134.
‘Youth, Girls, Teenagers: On the Intersections of Race, Gender, and Age Categories in Twentieth-Century South Africa,’ in The Global History of Black Girlhood, eds. LaKisha Simmons and Corinne Field (Champagne, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2022).
(With Divya Kannan, Anandini Dar, Clovis Bergere, Hia Sen, and Shivani Nag), ‘Childhood, Youth, and Identity: A Roundtable Conversation from the Global South,’ Journal of Childhood Studies, vol. 47, no. 2 (2022), pp. 20-31.
'Protestants in South Africa,’ Victorian Review, vol. 46, no. 2, Forum on Denominational Differences in Nineteenth-Century Christianity, (2021), pp. 179-183.
‘Dear Mrs. Brown: Social Purity, Sex Education and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union,’ Social History, vol. 45, no. 4, South Africa: Social History and Historiography (2020), pp. 476-499.
‘The Dutch Reformed Church and the Protestant Atlantic: Revivalism and Evangelicalism in the Nineteenth-Century Cape Colony,’ South African Historical Journal, vol. 70, no. 2, New Histories of South African Christianity (2018), pp. 324-347.
‘Babies of the Empire: Science, Nation, and Truby King’s Mothercraft in Early Twentieth-Century South Africa,’ in Children, Childhood and Youth in the British World: Historical Perspectives, eds. Simon Sleight and Shirleene Robinson (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), pp. 59-73.
‘Facts about Ourselves: Negotiating Sexual Knowledge in Early Twentieth-Century South Africa,’ Kronos, vol. 41, The Micro-Politics of Knowledge, (2015), pp. 199-219.
‘The Jam and Matchsticks Problem: Working-Class Girlhood in Late Nineteenth-Century Cape Town,’ Colonial Girlhood in Literature, Culture, and History, 1840-1950, eds. Kristine Moruzi and Michelle Smith (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 124-140.
‘Capture the Children: Writing Children and Childhood into the South African War, 1899-1902,’ Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, vol. 7, no. 3 (Fall 2014), pp. 355-376.
‘“Education for Every Son and Daughter of South Africa”: Race, Class, and the Compulsory Education Debate in the Cape Colony,’ in Citizenship, Modernisation, and Nationhood: The Cultural Role of Mass Education, 1870-1930, eds. Lawrence Brockliss and Nicola Sheldon (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 261-282.
‘“faded flowers?” Children in the Concentration Camps,’ in The War at Home: Women and Families in the Anglo-Boer War, eds. Albert Grundlingh and Bill Nasson (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2013).
‘“Unto Children’s Children”: Dutch Reformed Evangelicalism and Clerical Families in the Cape Colony,’ Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, vol. 14, no. 1, Families in the British Empire (April 2013), online.
‘“onschuldig vermaak”: The Dutch Reformed Church and Children’s Leisure Time in the Cape Colony, 1860-1890,’ South African Historical Journal, vol. 63, no. 4 (2011), pp. 495-513.
‘Saving the Child to Save the Nation: Poverty, Whiteness, and Childhood in the Cape Colony, c.1870-1895,’ Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 37, no. 2 (June 2011), pp. 229-245.
‘“The Right Kind of Ambition”: Discourses of Femininity at the Huguenot Seminary and College, 1895-1910,’ in Girlhood: A Global History, eds. Jennifer Helgren and Colleen Vasconcellos (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2010), pp. 234-249.
‘From New Women to College Girls at the Huguenot Seminary and College, 1895-1910,’ Historia, vol. 51, no. 1, May 2006, pp. 1-27.
‘“writing on the face of architecture”: Travel, Translation, and Representation in Robert Byron’s The Road to Oxiana,’ English Academy Review, vol. 22, December 2005, pp. 89-99.
‘“Oh! for a blessing on Africa and America”: The Mount Holyoke System and the Huguenot Seminary, 1874-1885,’ New Contree, vol. 50, November 2005, pp. 21-45.