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Kenya

Kenya Book List

Cover of 'Dedan Kimathi on Trial'

Dedan Kimathi on Trial
Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion
Edited by Julie MacArthur
· Introduction by Julie MacArthur
· Foreword by Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

Perhaps no figure embodied the ambiguities, colonial fears, and collective imaginations of Kenya’s decolonization era more than Dedan Kimathi, the self-proclaimed field marshal of the rebel forces that took to the forests to fight colonial rule in the 1950s. Kimathi personified many of the contradictions that the Mau Mau rebellion represented: rebel statesman, literate peasant, modern traditionalist.

A Quartz Africa book of the year, 2017
Cover of 'We Do Not Have Borders'

We Do Not Have Borders
Greater Somalia and the Predicaments of Belonging in Kenya
By Keren Weitzberg

Though often associated with foreigners and refugees, many Somalis have lived in Kenya for generations, in many cases since long before the founding of the country. Despite their long residency, foreign and state officials and Kenyan citizens often perceive the Somali population to be a dangerous and alien presence in the country, and charges of civil and human rights abuses have mounted against them in recent years.

Winner, 2018 Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the American Historical Association
Cover of 'An Uncertain Age'

An Uncertain Age
The Politics of Manhood in Kenya
By Paul Ocobock

In twentieth-century Kenya, age and gender were powerful cultural and political forces that animated household and generational relationships. They also shaped East Africans’ contact with and influence on emergent colonial and global ideas about age and masculinity. Kenyan men and boys came of age achieving their manhood through changing rites of passage and access to new outlets such as town life, crime, anticolonial violence, and nationalism.

Cover of 'Making the Mark'

Making the Mark
Gender, Identity, and Genital Cutting
By Miroslava Prazak

Why do female genital cutting practices persist? How does circumcision affect the rights of girls in a culture where initiation forms the lynchpin of the ritual cycle at the core of defining gender, identity, and social and political status? In Making the Mark, Miroslava Prazak follows the practice of female circumcision through the lives and activities of community members in a rural Kenyan farming society as they decide whether or not to participate in the tradition.

Cover of 'Obama and Kenya'

Obama and Kenya
Contested Histories and the Politics of Belonging
By Matthew Carotenuto and Katherine Luongo

Barack Obama’s political ascendancy has focused worldwide attention on Kenya. Carotenuto and Luongo argue that efforts to cast Obama as a “son of the soil” of the Lake Victoria basin invite insights into the politicized uses of Kenya’s past. Ideal for classroom use and directed at a general readership interested in global affairs, Obama and Kenya offers an important counterpoint to the many popular, but inaccurate texts about Kenya’s history and Obama’s place in it.

Finalist for the 2017 Bethwell A. Ogot Prize from the African Studies Association · Winner of the Joel Gregory Prize from the Canadian Association of African Studies
Cover of 'Cartography and the Political Imagination'

Cartography and the Political Imagination
Mapping Community in Colonial Kenya
By Julie MacArthur

Encompassing history, geography, and political science, MacArthur’s study evaluates the role of geographic imagination and the impact of cartography not only as means of expressing imperial power and constraining colonized populations, but as tools for the articulation of new political communities and resistance.

Cover of 'The Boy Is Gone'

The Boy Is Gone
Conversations with a Mau Mau General
By Laura Lee P. Huttenbach

A story with the power to change how people view the last years of colonialism in East Africa, The Boy Is Gone portrays the struggle for Kenyan independence in the words of a freedom fighter whose life spanned the twentieth century's most dramatic transformations. Born into an impoverished farm family in the Meru Highlands, Japhlet Thambu grew up wearing goatskins and lived to stand before his community dressed for business in a pressed suit, crisp tie, and freshly polished shoes.

Cover of 'Black Poachers, White Hunters'

Black Poachers, White Hunters
A Social History of Hunting in Colonial Kenya
By Edward I. Steinhart

Black Poachers, White Hunters traces the history of hunting in Kenya in the colonial era, describing the British attempt to impose the practices and values of nineteenth-century European aristocratic hunts followed, ultimately, by claims over African wildlife by conservationists.

Cover of 'The Risks of Knowledge'

The Risks of Knowledge
Investigations into the Death of the Hon. Minister John Robert Ouko in Kenya, 1990
By David William Cohen and E. S. Atieno Odhiambo

The Risks of Knowledge minutely examines the multiple and unfinished investigations into the murder of Kenya's distinguished Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Ouko, and raises important issues about the production of knowledge and the politics of memory.

Cover of 'Mau Mau and Nationhood'

Mau Mau and Nationhood
Arms, Authority, and Narration
Edited by E. S. Atieno Odhiambo and John Lonsdale

Fifty years after the declaration of the state of emergency, Mau Mau still excites argument and controversy, not least in Kenya itself. Mau Mau and Nationhood is a collection of essays providing the most recent thinking on the uprising and its aftermath. The work of well-established scholars as well as of young researchers with fresh perspectives, Mau Mau and Nationhood achieves a multilayered analysis of a subject of enduring interest.

Cover of 'Eroding the Commons'

Eroding the Commons
The Politics of Ecology in Baringo, Kenya, 1890s–1963
By David M. Anderson

Colonial Baringo was largely unnoticed until drought and localized famine in the mid-1920s led to claims that its crisis was brought on by overcrowding and livestock mismanagement. In response to the alarm over erosion, the state embarked on a program for rehabilitation, conservation, and development.

Cover of 'Empire State-Building'

Empire State-Building
War and Welfare in Kenya, 1925–1952
By Joanna Lewis

This history of administrative thought and practice in colonial Kenya looks at the ways in which white people tried to engineer social change. It asks four questions: - Why was Kenya's welfare operation so idiosyncratic and spartan compared with that of other British colonies? - Why did a transformation from social welfare to community development produce further neglect of the very poor? - Why was there no equivalent to the French tradition of community medicine?

Cover of 'African Womanhood in Colonial Kenya, 1900–1950'

African Womanhood in Colonial Kenya, 1900–1950
By Tabitha Kanogo

This book explores the history of African womanhood in colonial Kenya. By focussing on key sociocultural institutions and practices around which the lives of women were organized, and on the protracted debates that surrounded these institutions and practices during the colonial period, it investigates the nature of indigenous, mission, and colonial control of African women.

Cover of 'Multi-Party Politics in Kenya'

Multi-Party Politics in Kenya
The Kenyatta & Moi States & the Triumph of the System in the 1992 Election
By David Throup and Charles Hornsby

This book uses the Kenyan political system to address issues relevant to recent political developments throughout Africa. The authors analyze the construction of the Moi state since 1978. They show the marginalization of Kikuyu interests as the political economy of Kenya has been reconstructed to benefit President Moi's Kalenjin people and their allies. Mounting Kikuyu dissatisfaction led to the growth of demands for multi-party democracy.

Cover of 'Gender Violence and the Press'

Gender Violence and the Press
The St. Kizito Story
By H. Leslie Steeves

On the night of Saturday, July 13, 1991, a mob of male students at the St. Kizito Mixed Secondary School in Meru, Kenya, attacked their female classmates in a dormitory. Nineteen schoolgirls were killed in the melee and more than 70 were raped or gang raped. The explanations in the press for the attack included a rebellion by male students over administrative mismanagement, academic stress, cultural norms for the Meru ethnic group, and victim characteristics (as assumed in rape myths).