Kathleen Sheldon's picture


After I received my Ph.D. in African history from UCLA in 1988, with a dissertation on working women in Mozambique, I began a decade of adjunct, part-time, and temporary teaching positions in southern California. For personal and family reasons, I was not interested in relocating in search of a permanent position elsewhere, so I remained at UCLA, where I benefitted immensely from my research affiliation at the Center for the Study of Women. The Research Scholars program supports about thirty researchers every year, not with stipends or office space, but with library access and the opportunity to participate as part of an academic community.

I was elected to the Board of the African Studies Association (ASA) (2004-2007), and later appointed as Treasurer of the organization (2013), and I have contributed in a variety of positions for the ASA Women’s Caucus, the Western Association of Women Historians, and on the Program Committee for the 2008 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, among other service positions. I was also a founder of the Lusophone African Studies Organization, and continue as chair as well as editing our network, h-luso-africa. I was an appointed member of the Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women for ten years, and currently I serve on the board of the Santa Monica Public Library.

My books include Pounders of Grain: A History of Women, Work, and Politics in Mozambique (2002) and the Historical Dictionary of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa (2nd ed., 2016).

Current research areas: 

African history

Recent scholarly activity: 

I co-edited, with Judith Van Allen, a special forum on Women and Gender in Africa, appearing in African Studies Review in two parts, December 2015 and April 2016.

Recent publications: 

My recent publications include “Creating an Archive of Working Women’s Oral Histories in Beira, Mozambique” in Contesting Archives: Finding Women in the Sources (2010), and “Cape Verdean and Mozambican Women’s Literature: Liberating the National and Seizing the Intimate,” with Isabel Fêo P. B. Rodrigues, in African Studies Review 53, 3 (2010): 77-99. I was also an associate editor for the New Encyclopedia of Africa (2007), and editor for women’s entries for the six-volume Dictionary of African Biography (Oxford University Press, 2011). I am currently on the editorial board for the African Studies section of Oxford Bibliographies, available online, and the new resource, the Oxford Research Encyclopedia in African History.

Forthcoming research: 

African Women Making History: Early History to the Twenty-First Century (Indiana University Press, 2017).

Other activities: 

I am part of the editorial team for H-Luso-Africa
I am the treasurer for the African Studies Association.

Primary Discipline: 

Areas of Research: 

Secondary Discipline: 

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National Coalition of Independent Scholars