Paul Ocobock

Ocobock Website Photo

I am a historian of twentieth century Africa, and I specialize in the histories of African peoples living in East Africa. My research draws on archival records and field interviews done with members of several communities in Kenya. My current work examines the everyday lives of young Kenyan African men growing up under British colonialism. I explore their efforts to earn a living, challenge generational and colonial authority, as well as articulate and fulfill a sense of moral and material maturity. I specifically focus on the migrant wage labor, street life, delinquency, and armed rebellion of young men against the colonial state. I am preparing a book manuscript on these themes entitled An Uncertain Age: The Politics of Manhood in Kenya as well as writing an article on the participation of young men in the Mau Mau war and British efforts to punish and rehabilitate them.

I teach courses in African History, from earliest times to the present day. My teaching interests include histories of colonialism, anti-colonial violence, gender and generation, youth politics, urbanization, and labor in Africa. I also enjoy teaching on the role of Africans in the rise of the global slave trade as well as life in the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Department of History bio  574/631-2564

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