Bio

AHRC Collaborative-PhD Student at the University of Warwick working with the Imperial War Museum on the Legacies of the Mau Mau Conflict in Kenya.

A bit about me…

I’m a Dutch PhD Student at Warwick working on the Legacies of Mau Mau in post-colonial Kenya, on a Collaborative Doctoral Project with the Imperial War Museum in London. Mau Mau was a significant conflict in 1950s Kenya between the British colonial government and African guerrillas fighting for ‘land and freedom’. My blog will give some shorter, informal thoughts about Kenyan history and contemporary Kenyan politics. All opinions are my own, but would love to discuss them with you all.

My Project

My study hopes, by engaging a melange of official and unofficial sources in both Kenya and Britain, to go beyond the established historiography of the conflict by emphasising the continuing importance of former guerrillas and detainees in the process of decolonisation and the formation of the post-colonial Kenyan state. This research will challenge forthrightly notions of decolonisation as a peaceful, consensual or planned process on the one hand, as well as nationalist teleologies that submerge every-day struggles and lived experiences on the other. 

I will also hope to play a small part in making British audiences aware of the realities of the late-Empire as a self-serving instrument of political domination willing to use exemplary force to achieve control, as well as the legacies of imperial rule within polities permanently disfigured by its violence. 

Education

2020-2024, PhD in History, University of Warwick

2019-2020, MPhil in World History, University of Cambridge (with Distinction)

2016-2019, BA in History, University of York (First Class Honours with Distinction)

Research Interest

Colonial emergencies; Kenyan history; legacies of empire; world history; settler colonialism; global Cold War; public history and museum studies. 

Papers and Publication

‘“Fighting the “Great War of the Minds of Men”: Anti-Communism and Decolonisation in the Rhodesian Department of Information, 1962-1968’, (Decolonisation Workshop, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, May 2020).

‘The Rhodesian Department of Information, transnational anticommunism and the global imagination of settler rebellion, 1962-1970’ (World History Graduate Workshop, University of Cambridge, February 2020).

Public Engagement

As part of my PhD I am working closely with the Imperial War Museum in the re-imagining and revitalising of their 1945-1989 exhibits, specifically by foregrounding the late-colonial conflicts at the End of Empire.

I will hope to help the IWM amplify under-represented voices within its collections by exploring the cultural and social changes in Britain and in Kenya wrought by the Mau Mau uprising and the brutal counterinsurgency campaign waged to suppress it by British forces. Specifically, this will involve expanding the IWM’s holdings through the collection of oral histories and material artefacts, contributing to the discussion of imperial memory in contemporary Britain. To this end I will also be participating in a variety of public programme outputs of the IWM, including blog posts and other outreach activities. 

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