Meredith McKittrick’s research focuses on 19th and 20th century southern Africa. She examines how the interaction of local communities and larger state structures has shaped people’s identities, families, territorial loyalties, and resource access. Her first book explored the gendered and generational dynamics of the creation of a large Christian community in northern Namibia during the colonial period. Her current projects include a study of how local communities, colonial governments, and post-colonial states have claimed and utilized river resources in Namibia, Botswana and Angola. She is also writing a book about a popular South African scheme to divert rivers into the Kalahari in the first half of the 20th century – a scheme that has counterparts in settler communities in Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Professor McKittrick teaches a variety of African and environmental history courses, as well as comparative U.S.-South African history and the history of modern agriculture. In 2010, she won the Georgetown College Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
Areas of Expertise: Southern Africa, environment, intellectual history, resource access, agriculture, race relations
2002 To Dwell Secure: Generation, Christianity and Colonialism in Ovamboland, Northern Namibia. Heinemann Social History of Africa Series, 2002.
2008 “Landscapes of Power: Ownership and Identity on the Middle Kavango River, Namibia,” Journal of Southern African Studies 34, no. 4, 785-802.
1999 “Faithful Daughter, Murdering Mother: Transgression and Social Control in Colonial Namibia.” Journal of African History 40, no. 2, 265-283. Winner of the Robert F. Heizer Prize for the best article in ethnohistory.
1997 “Reinventing the Family: Kinship, Marriage and Famine in Northern Namibia, 1948-54,” Social Science History 23, no. 3, 265-295.
1996 “The ‘Burden’ of Young Men: Generational Conflict and Property Rights in Ovamboland,” African Economic History 24, 115-129.
Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters
2012 “Industrial Agriculture,” 10,000-word chapter in Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Global Environmental History, John McNeill and Erin Stewart Maudlin, eds.
2006 “’The Wealth of These Nations’: Rain, Rulers and Religion on the Cuvelai Floodplain,” in Terje Tvedt, ed., The World of Water, I.B. Tauris.
2003 “Capricious Tyrants and Persecuted Subjects: Reading Between the Lines of Missionary Records,” in Toyin Falola et al., eds., Africanizing Knowledge: African Studies Across the Disciplines. Transaction.
2003 “Forsaking their Fathers? Colonialism, Christianity and Coming of Age in Ovamboland, Northern Namibia,” in Lisa Lindsay and Stephan Miescher, eds., Men and Masculinity in Africa. Heinemann.
2002 “Faithful Daughter, Murdering Mother: Transgression and Social Control in Colonial Namibia,” in Wendy Woodward, Patricia Hayes and Gary Minkley, Deep Histories: Gender and Colonialism in Southern Africa. Rodopi, reprint of 1999 Journal of African History article.
1998 “Generational Struggles and Social Mobility in Ovamboland, 1915 to 1950,” in Namibia Under South African Rule: Mobility and Containment, 1915-1946, Patricia Hayes et al, eds. Longman.