"Empire on Trial: Mau Mau and the High Court of Justice"
Professor of History and of African and African American Studies
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
5:30 pm, Pembroke Hall 305
Caroline Elkins is Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, and the founding director of Harvard’s Center for African Studies.
She received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Princeton University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Elkins’ research focuses on empire, violence, liberalism, and insecurity, with a particular focus on Africa and various regions of the former British Empire including parts of Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Her first book, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya (Henry Holt, 2005) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2006. It was also one of The Economist’s Best Books for 2005, an Editor’s Choice for The New York Times, a Waterstone’s Best Writer for 2005, and a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize for nonfiction.
Elkins and her work have been profiled in newspapers and magazines around the world, including Newsweek, Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, and The Boston Globe, as well on various television and radio programs including Charlie Rose, CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC World News, NPR’s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation, and BBC World Radio One and Radio Four. She is a contributor to the New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. She and her research were the subjects of a BBC documentary titled “Kenya: White Terror,” which won the International Red Cross Award at the Monte Carlos Film Festival. More recently, her research served as the basis for the historic Mau Mau reparations case, for which she was expert witness, in the High Court of London. The British government settled the case in June 2013 with an official apology and a large, cash settlement.
At Harvard Elkins was selected as a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow, elected as a member of the Faculty Council for Arts and Sciences, and inducted as an honorary member of the University’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter. She has also held numerous other fellowships and awards including those from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Scholars (Burkhardt Fellowship), Fulbright, the Social Science Research Council, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2003-04; 2012-13), the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Carr Center for Human Rights, and the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy.
Professor Elkins is currently completing her book on violence and the end of the British Empire, to be published by Knopf in 2018. In addition, Imperial Reckoning and Elkins’ role as expert witness in the Mau Mau case is currently being made into a major motion picture.
Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Pembroke Center and the C.V. Starr Foundation Lectureship