Students at Georgetown have long incorporated Africa-related topics into their research and courses of study within the Atlantic, U.S. Diplomatic, and Transregional fields. The Africa field was established in 2015 to take advantage of a convergence of opportunities: the position of African History as a field of growth within the discipline of History in higher education and Georgetown’s distinctive advantages as a place to study African History.
The department’s Africanist faculty enjoy complementary and overlapping chronological, regional, and thematic specializations. Meredith McKittrick researches 19th- and 20th-century southern Africa, with a focus on Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, and Angola. She is interested in histories of the environment, gender, Christianity, settler colonialism, decolonization, and comparative race relations. Kathryn de Luna studies precolonial central Africa, extending into the histories of eastern and southern Africa and across millennia through her specialization in historical linguistics. She is interested in historical approaches to topics like subsistence, mobility, emotions, senses, environments, and technology as well as unconventional historical methodologies.
These research specializations make Georgetown the only university in the country to have two faculty members working on south-central Africa and African environmental history in its History Department. Although it is an unparalleled department in which to study the histories of Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Malawi, DRC, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique in all periods, McKittrick and de Luna also welcome students interested in social, gender, intellectual, and environmental history in other regions of Africa.