Caroline Elkins Reflects on the Mau Mau and the British Empire

Historian Caroline Elkins gives the next Washington History Seminar at the Wilson Center on Monday, September 27, discussing “Reflections on the Mau Mau and the End of Empire.” Caroline Elkins is Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Harvard University.  Her first book, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya, won the Pulitzer Prize.  She is presently completing a manuscript on the British Empire and counterinsurgency after World War II.

In recent years, the topic of the Mau Mau Emergency in Kenya has engendered public and scholarly debate.  Professor Elkins’s Imperial Reckoning has been the center of much of this dialogue and controversy.  Intending to revise the history of Mau Mau’s civilian war, Imperial Reckoning used a range of sources to interrogate the nature of late colonial rule in Kenya.  Five years after the book’s publication, however, the fields of Kenyan and imperial histories have further evolved.  The significance of Imperial Reckoning has also changed, as have the author’s thoughts on its construction and style.

Click here to watch a video of the seminar.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center and the Wilson Center. Wm. Roger Louis and Christian Ostermann are the co-directors. The seminar meets weekly during the academic year, January to May and September to December. Click here for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as videos and podcasts.  The support given to the seminar by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations is gratefully acknowledged.

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