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Dr Joanna Lewis, Assistant Professor

Research and Publications

Dr Lewis's main research interests are: British colonial rule in Africa;  the empire in British culture, society and politics; and media history. These  roughly translate into race and white settlers; memorialisations and great deaths; David Livingstone; Mau Mau in Kenya; Robert Mugabe and post-colonial Britain; gender and women's history; liberalism and humanitarianism.

Dr Lewis received a generous grant in 2012  from the LSE Annual Fund to support a conference to mark the bi-centennary of Livingstone's birth. "Imperial Obessions: David Livingstone's life and legacy reassessed" will be held in Livingstone, Zambia in April 2013, near the Victoria Falls. For further information,  see Livingstone Zambia 2013. In 2011, Row Zambezi was a supported project inspired by an LSE history student who with others rowed down part of the Zambezi for WaterAid.

Dr Lewis's latest publication going into press is entitled ""White man in a woodpile": Harold Macmillan, race and the end of empire", in L J Butler, S Stockwell (eds) The wind of change in Africa fifty years on (Palgrave, forthcoming)  . She has just finished an article on David Livingstone and the Victorian press. Her 2002 article ""Daddy wouldn't buy me a Mau Mau" has recently been selected for republication in a collection edition by Martin Shipway on the most influential recent articles on decolonisation. She is currently researching on Robert Mugabe and Britain's post-colonial hangover.

To read Dr Lewis's review of Ronald Hyam's Understanding the British Empire (2010), please click here.

Recent academic publications include "Harold MacMillan and the Wind of Change", in Wm. Roger Louis (ed.), Resurgent adventures with Britannia, Personalities, Politics and Culture in Britain (I. B. Tauris, 2011); 'Nasty, brutish and in shorts? British colonial rule, violence and the historians of Mau Mau', The Round Table Journal, (April 2008); 'Carry on up the Solent: Southampton's reception for the mortal remains of Dr David Livingstone', in Miles Taylor (ed) Southampton: Gateway to Empire? (I. B. Tauris, 2008); with Philip Murphy, '"The old pal's protection society": The Colonial Office and the media on the eve of decolonisation', in Chandrika Kaul (ed) The press and empire (Manchester University Press, 2006); and '"Daddy wouldn't buy me a Mau Mau": the British popular press and the demoralisation of empire' in J. Lonsdale & A. Odhiambo, (eds.) Mau Mau and nationhood: arms, authority and narration (James Currey: Oxford, 2003).

Dr Lewis came to LSE in 2004, previously having held lectureships at Cambridge University, SOAS and Durham University.  Her doctoral research was on colonial governance and development in Kenya supervised by Professor John Lonsdale, Faculty of History, Cambridge University. She then held a four year ESRC Research Fellowship in war and reconstruction at the African Studies Centre and a Teaching Fellowship at Churchill College. She also has a Master's in International Relations from Cambridge and has been Director of Studies in History at Corpus Christi and Churchill College, and briefly Director of the African Studies Centre where she is a research associate still. She is Welsh.

Click here for more on publications by Dr Joanna Lewis|

Teaching and Supervision

Dr Lewis's teaching at the LSE reflects the research interests outlined above. She teaches the following courses:

At undergraduate level:

HY113: From Empire to Independence: The Extra-European World in the Twentieth Century| (taught with other members of staff in the Department)

HY240: From Empire to Commonwealth: War, Race and Imperialism in British History, 1780 to 1979|

At Masters level:

HY436: Race, Violence and Colonial Rule in Africa|

Dr Lewis also supervises the following PhD students:



Gary Blank

An analysis of British attitudes to the Nigerian Civil War and humanitarian disaster in Biafra in the 1960s

Rosalind Coffey

A history of Press Coverage of British Decolonisation

Jonas Gjersø

The Evolving Motives of British Policy in East Africa, 1877-1896 

Benjamin Greening

A history of race and politics in Bermuda in the age of British decolonisation

Mark O'Connor

A history of the District Officer  during the Malaysian Emergency

Contact Details

Office: Room EAS.E494
Telephone: 020 7955 7924
Email Address: J.E.Lewis1@lse.ac.uk|

Office Hours

[On leave 2013-2014]


Dr Joanna Lewis