Jonathon Earle is assistant professor of history and current chair of the African and African American Studies Program. He joined Centre’s faculty in 2012 as visiting assistant professor of history. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in religion and theology, respectively, he completed his doctoral studies in history at the University of Cambridge.
At Cambridge, he facilitated tutorials, lectures and seminars at the undergraduate and graduate level, teaching on the history of modern Africa and historical methodology. At Centre, Earle has worked to develop a creative pedagogy, which often leads him to incorporate community-based learning into the heart of his courses. In his course on precolonial African kingdoms, for example, he uses a nearby burial ground for enslaved western Africans to think about continuities and ruptures across the Black Atlantic. His upper-level seminar on Idi Amin’s Uganda includes video discussions with authors and collaborative research at the National Archives at College Park and the Smithsonian Institute of African Art. Professor Earle has directed two studies abroad in Uganda and Rwanda. The course’s chronology is far-reaching, ranging from precolonial state formation to the postcolonial period. Its scope is equally comprehensive, exploring two forms of political organization: clan-based republics and monarchical states. Through cultural immersion and modular learning, students critically engage with local cultures, communities and histories, developing the necessary research skills to critically explore Africa’s sophisticated social and moral landscapes. Earle also co-directed the Centre-in-London Program in 2017, during which he incorporated contested spaces throughout London and Northern Ireland to study the history of anticolonial politics following the Second World War.
At Centre, Earle has maintained an aggressive research agenda. He has presented material at thirteen sessions at conferences and workshops since Fall 2012. Most recently, he has presented his work at the Universities of Cambridge, Makerere (in partnership with SOAS) and Yale. He is also an active collaborator, having recently co-organized a workshop on Terrorism in Africa at the University of Oxford (2017), and a workshop on Emerging Approaches in Uganda Studies at University College London (2017). His most recent book, Colonial Buganda and the End of Empire: Political Thought and Historical Imagination in Africa (Cambridge University Press 2017), has been hailed as offering a “thrilling new stand in Ganda historiography”, where another scholar notes: “With this book Earle becomes a leader in re-thinking the history of African nationalisms. His scrutiny of private papers undiscovered by previous historians allows us to eavesdrop on the political thought of late-colonial activists as never before.” His research has also been published in the Dictionary of African Biography (Oxford University Press), Journal of Eastern African Studies (Routledge) and Journal of African History (Cambridge University Press). He has two chapters under review with Ohio University Press and one article under review with History in Africa (Cambridge University Press). Earle has also taken an active role in the preservation and digitization of archives in Uganda, including the private papers of E.M.K Mulira, Uganda’s foremost constitutional thinker, which are now available through Cambridge, and the Soroti District Archives.
Earle is currently working on two projects. First, with the support of a Stodghill Research Professorship, he is co-authoring a biography of Uganda’s first prime minister, Benedicto Kiwanuka, with Jay J. Carney (Creighton University), which is under review with the Religion in Transforming African Series (Boydell & Brewer/James Currey). Second, he is using the railway in colonial Kenya and Uganda to explore the history of the concept of time in eastern Africa.
Earle is the recipient of numerous awards. For outstanding teaching, scholarship and service, he was appointed a Centre Scholar in 2016, and he was awarded a Stodghill Research Professorship in 2017. He was named the Delta Delta Delta Professor of the Year in 2016.
File last updated: 7/5/17