Teresa Barnes

Section 1

Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies,History,LAS Global Studies, and Center for Global Studies

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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.

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

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

Research Description

  • 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


  • Feminist Theories in the Humanities
  • 20th Century African Intellectual History
  • History of Southern Africa
  • Truth Commissions in Comparative Perspective
  • Memoir and Autobiography

Office Hours

  • Tuesdays 10-12am



  • Barnes, Teresa. "We Women Worked So Hard": Gender, Labor and Social Reproduction in Harare, Zimbabwe, 1930-56. . Heinemann, 1999.
  • Barnes, Teresa, and Everjoice Win. To Live A Better Life: An Oral History of Women in Harare, 1930-60. . Harare, Zimbabwe: Baobab Books, 1990.

Book Contributions

  • Barnes, Teresa, Joseph Mtisi, and Munyaradzi Mushonga. ""Zimbabwe, 1965-80"." Becoming Zimbabwe: A Textbook. . Harare, Zimbabwe: Weaver Press, 2009.

  • Barnes, Teresa. "“More than the sum of its parts? Formation of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in the Western Cape,”." The Restructuring of South African Higher Education: Rocky Roads from Policy Formulation to Institutional Mergers, 2002-2005. . Pretoria, South Africa: University of South Africa Press, 2009.

  • ""Flame: A Zimbabwean Story"." Black and White in Colour: African History On Screen. . Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006.

  • ""Owning What We Know: Racial Controversies in South African Feminism, 1991-1998"." Stepping Forward: Black Women in Africa and the Americas. . Athens: Ohio University Press, 2002.

  • "“Virgin Territory? Travel and Migration by African Women in Twentieth-Century Southern Africa,”." Wlomen in African Colonial Histories. . Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002.

  • ""We Are Afraid To Command Our Children"." Sites of Struggle: Essays in Zimbabwe's urban history. . Harare, Zimbabwe: Weaver Press, 1999.

  • "“The Heroes’ Struggle: Life After the Liberation War for Four Ex-combatants in Zimbabwe,”." Soldiers in Zimbabwe's Liberation War. . London: James Currey, 1995.

Journal Articles

  • "“Banned Bodies: Knowledge and Power in a South African University,”." African Studies Review (2013):
  • "History and Ordinary Womanhood." Historical Reflections 38.2 (2012):
  • "Soccer Nation/Corporation." Journal of Sports and Social Issues 35.1 (2011):
  • Barnes, Teresa. ""Product Red: The Marketing of African Misery"." Journal of PanAfrican Studies 2.6 (2008):
  • Barnes, Teresa. ""History Has to Play its Role: Constructions of Race and Reconciliation in Secondary School Historiography in Zimbabwe, 1980-2002"." Journal of Southern African Studies 33.3 (2007):
  • Barnes, Teresa. ""Politics of the Mind and Body: Gender and Institutional Culture in African Universities"." Feminist Africa (2007):
  • Barnes, Teresa. ""Nation-Building without Mortar? Public Participation in the Reconstruction of South African Higher Education"." Perspectives in Education 24.1 (2006):
  • Barnes, Teresa. "Changing Discourses and Meanings of Redress in South African Higher Education." Journal of Asian and African Studies 41.1/2 (2006):
  • "Democracy and Historiographies of Organized Labour in Zimbabwe." International Review of Social History 48.3 (2003):
  • "'Am I a Man?': Gender and the pass laws in urban colonial Zimbabwe." African Studies Review 40.1 (1997):
  • Barnes, Teresa. "“So That A Labourer Could Live With His Family’: Overlooked Factors in Social and Economic Strife in Urban Colonial Zimbabwe, 1945-52.” ." Journal of Southern African Studies 21.1 (1995):


  • "Zimbabwean Urban History." Rev. of Bulawayo Burning: The Social History of an African CityJournal of African History 52.2 (2011): 266-268.
  • "The History of South African Health Care." Rev. of Diversity and Division in Medicine: Health Care in South Africa from the 1800sJournal of African History 50.3 (2010): 449-451.
  • Rev. of Asinamali: University Struggles in Post-Apartheid South AfricaAfrican Studies Review 51.1 (2008): 194-195.
  • "The State of Academic Historiography in South Africa." Rev. of History Making and Present Day Politics: The Meaning of Collective Memory in South AfricaJournal of African History 48.3 (2007): 508-509.
  • Rev. of Re-living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from Zimbabwe's Liberation StruggleAfrica Today 53.3 (2007): 113-116.
  • Rev. of Theatres of Struggle and the End of ApartheidAfrica Today 52.3 (2006): 116-117.
  • Rev. of We Are Fighting the World: A History of the Marashea Gangs in South Africa, 1947-1999American Historical Review 111.4 (2006): 1294-1295.
  • "Following the Migrant Mineworkers Home." Rev. of Basotho and the Mines: A Social History of Labour Migrancy in Lesotho and South Africa, c. 1890-1940Journal of African History 46.3 (2005): 527-528.