John Lonsdale

John Lonsdale is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Listed in: African Studies · History · Political Science · Sociology · Legal History · African History




Dedan Kimathi on Trial · Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion
Edited by Julie MacArthur · Introduction by Julie MacArthur · Foreword by Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

Perhaps no figure embodied the ambiguities, colonial fears, and collective imaginations of Kenya’s decolonization era more than Dedan Kimathi, the self-proclaimed field marshal of the rebel forces that took to the forests to fight colonial rule in the 1950s. Kimathi personified many of the contradictions that the Mau Mau rebellion represented: rebel statesman, literate peasant, modern traditionalist.




Citizenship, Belonging, and Political Community in Africa · Dialogues between Past and Present
Edited by Emma Hunter

Africa, it is often said, is suffering from a crisis of citizenship. At the heart of the contemporary debates this apparent crisis has provoked lie dynamic relations between the present and the past, between political theory and political practice, and between legal categories and lived experience. Yet studies of citizenship in Africa have often tended to foreshorten historical time and privilege the present at the expense of the deeper past.

“This edited volume offers an important contribution to the study of citizenship and community in colonial and early post-colonial Africa. The volume’s thematic and geographical diversity are a testament to the richness of the field, and several contributors offer examples and methods for a more sophisticated reading of the continent’s contentious political history.”

James R. Brennan, author of Taifa: Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania




Mau Mau and Nationhood · Arms, Authority, and Narration
Edited by E. S. Atieno Odhiambo and John Lonsdale

Fifty years after the declaration of the state of emergency, Mau Mau still excites argument and controversy, not least in Kenya itself. Mau Mau and Nationhood is a collection of essays providing the most recent thinking on the uprising and its aftermath. The work of well-established scholars as well as of young researchers with fresh perspectives, Mau Mau and Nationhood achieves a multilayered analysis of a subject of enduring interest.

“A thousand words can never do justice to this tremendous collection, so I will state at the outset that it is a must read.”

Cynthia Brantley, American Historical Review




Unhappy Valley · Conflict in Kenya and Africa - Book Two: Violence and Ethnicity
By Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale

This long-awaited book is a considerable revision in the understanding of the history of colonial Kenya and, more widely, colonialism in Africa. There is a substantial amount of new work and this is interlocked with shared areas of concern that the authors have been exploring since 1976. The authors investigate major themes.

Unhappy Valley: Conflict in Kenya and in Africa is a must-read for all concerned with issues of colonization, dependency, and state building, as well as the nature and achievements of African resistance.”

Kinuthia Macharia, Modern African Studies




Unhappy Valley · Conflict in Kenya and Africa - Book One: State and Class
By Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale

This long-awaited book is a considerable revision in the understanding of the history of colonial Kenya and, more widely, colonialism in Africa. There is a substantial amount of new work and this is interlocked with shared areas of concern that the authors have been exploring since 1976. The authors investigate major themes.

Unhappy Valley: Conflict in Kenya and in Africa is a must-read for all concerned with issues of colonization, dependency, and state building, as well as the nature and achievements of African resistance.”

Modern African Studies




Unhappy Valley · Conflict in Kenya and Africa - Books One and Two
By Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale

This long-awaited book is a considerable revision in the understanding of the history of colonial Kenya and, more widely, colonialism in Africa. There is a substantial amount of new work and this is interlocked with shared areas of concern that the authors have been exploring since 1976. The authors investigate major themes.

Unhappy Valley: Conflict in Kenya and in Africa is a must-read for all concerned with issues of colonization, dependency, and state building, as well as the nature and achievements of African resistance.”

Kinuthia Macharia, Modern African Studies