Teresa Ann Barnes

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Personal profile

Personal profile

I was born and grew up in the US, but I spent the better part of 25 years after college, living and working in southern Africa. I lived in Zimbabwe and South Africa, where I discovered the "gravitational pull" of African history.

I have a joint appointment at UIUC in History and Gender/Women's Studies. Since August 2017, I have been the Director of the Center for African Studies at UIUC.

Research Interests

Political, gender and institutional histories of South African universities; Political history of Zimbabwe; Gender, memoir and autobiography

Professional Information

Right now my main research project focuses on a South African philosophy professor who was also a state censor, prosecution witness and perhaps even a spy in the apartheid era, 1950s and 1960s. I'm working on this project because there is not enough historiography of higher education in South Africa in this period - not enough to allow us to understand how people were educated to accept injustice. I'm intrigued by this particular professor because he held a prominent educational position for a long time and was also very outspoken in the South African national media about his support for apartheid.

I've also started writing about Zimbabwe again recently. I've been researching issues of solidarity between activists in the US, South Africa and Zimbabwe; and following my continuing interest in high school history textbooks and teaching trends in Zimbabwe.

Here are some of the papers I'm working on:

"Exporting apartheid: a South African intellectual's incursions into pan-African politics, 1960-66" 

"Good liberals, bad liberals: a new theoretical framework in South African political history"

"Before, during or after revolution? Solidarity, Radical Women’s Health Activists  and the Zimbabwe African National Union in the United States, 1979"

"Solidarity Begins at Home: expatriate anti-apartheid activism  in Harare, Zimbabwe in the 1980s"

With Munyaradzi Nyakudya and Government Phiri: "Vacuum in the classroom? Recent Trends in High School History Teaching and Textbooks in Zimbabwe"


PhD, African Economic History, University of Zimbabwe, 1994
MA with distinction, African Economic History, University of Zimbabwe, 1987
BA, International Relations, Brown University, 1979


20th Century African Intellectual History
History of Southern Africa
Truth Commissions in Comparative Perspective
Memoir and Autobiography
Introduction to Gender & Women's Studies
Feminist Theories in the Humanities
Sexualities in African History
African Urban History

Office Address

309 Gregory Hall MC-466

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Research Output

"We Women Worked So Hard": Gender, Urbanization and Social Reproduction in Colonial Harare, Zimbabwe, 1930-1956

Barnes, T., 1999, Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann [u.a.]. 256 p. (Social history of Africa)

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

  • To Live A Better Life: An Oral History of Women in the City of Harare, 1930-70

    Barnes, T. & Win, E., 1992, Baobab Books. 230 p.

    Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

    Uprooting University Apartheid in South Africa: From Liberalism to Decolonization

    Barnes, T. A., Nov 28 2018, New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis. 176 p. (Routledge Contemporary South Africa)

    Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

  • Student actions against paradoxical post-apartheid higher education policy in South Africa: The case of the University of the Western Cape

    Barnes, T. A., Cele, M. BG. & Luescher, T. M., Mar 3 2016, Student Politics in Africa: Representation and Activism. Luescher, T. M., Klemenčič, M. & Jowi, J. O. (eds.). Cape Town: African Minds, p. 182-201 (African Minds Higher Education Dynamics; vol. 2).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    • 3 Editorial activity
    • 2 Oral presentation
    • 1 Invited talk

    Espionage in South African universities during the apartheid era

    Teresa Ann Barnes (Speaker)

    Nov 19 2016

    Activity: Talk typesOral presentation

    Gender and Africana Studies

    Teresa Ann Barnes (Speaker)

    Mar 10 2016

    Activity: Talk typesOral presentation

    Zuma and Trump: A grotesque sense of entitlement

    Teresa Ann Barnes (Invited speaker)

    Mar 4 2017

    Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

    Journal of Women's History (Journal)

    Teresa Ann Barnes (Advisory board member)


    Activity: Editorial work typesEditorial activity

    Kronos: Southern African Histories (Journal)

    Teresa Ann Barnes (Editorial board member)

    2009 → …

    Activity: Editorial work typesEditorial activity

    Honors & Recognition