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Heike Schmidt

Staff profile placeholder

Director of Global Engagement

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome MA and Ph.D. students who are interested in the History of Africa. Prospective postgraduate students are most welcome to contact me to discuss possible dissertation or thesis topics - Africa, especially Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Nineteenth and twentieth century. Colonialism, gender, violence & conflict, nationalism, identity.


Undergraduate (convenor)

Part One - Research Skills and Opportunities in History

Part One Option - The Rwanda Genocide of 1994

Part One Option - African Treasures: Across Oceans of Water and Sand

Part Two Option - The Colonial Experience, Africa 1879 to 1980

Part Three Topic - Africa from European Settlement to Nelson Mandela

Part Three Subject - Gender in Africa

Part Three Dissertation Supervision


MA Option - Violence and Conflict in Twentieth Century Africa

Research centres and groups

Gender History Research Cluster Lead.

Heritage and Creativity Gender Cluster
Gender and History Cluster Blog


My passion for Africa began during a study abroad year at the University of Zimbabwe. I have since become a historian of modern Africa, with my area of specialty being the history of East Africa and Southern Africa, in particular Tanzania and Zimbabwe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My research focuses on violence and conflict, gender, nationalism, compared colonialisms, religion, and social identities. In my research I have applied a range of approaches, notably social history, gender history, 'new' colonial history, and historical anthropology. My research and my publications are rooted in extended fieldwork which includes undertaking oral history as well as archival studies in Africa.

Selected publications

I have published widely on questions of violence, identity, and social cohesion. My monograph, Colonialism in Zimbabwe: A History of Suffering (James Currey, Oxford and Weaver Press, Harare/Zimba¬bwe), is a social history of the gendered experience of suffering and a micro-history of a frontier society, located on the border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Currently, I am writing the biography of a hitherto unremembered Zimbabwean nationalist who spent most of the 1960s and 1970s in exile, in London. The objective is to tell the personal story of one man's aspirations realized within and against the opportunities that colonialism provided. More broadly, the project aims to provide a new understanding of politicisation, mobilisation, and belonging. This is part of a larger project on nationalism in Africa.


  • Schmidt, H. (2004) Zimbabwe, Great. In: McNeill, W. , (eds.) Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History. Volume V. Berkshire Publishing Group , Great Barrington. pp. 2114-2117. ISBN: 974309109
  • Schmidt, H. (2004) Kongo. In: McNeill, W. , (eds.) Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History. Volume III. Berkshire Publishing Group , Great Barrington. pp. 1087-1090. ISBN: 974309109