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Anjuli WebsterMellon Sawyer Dissertation Fellow


B.A. University of Pretoria
MA. University of Dar es Salaam
M.A. University of Witwatersrand

Research Interests

Global History
Law and Empire


"Fluid Empires: Histories of Environment and Sovereignty in Southern Africa,1750-1900"

Faculty Advisors


I have trained in history and anthropology in South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States. My research and teaching centre southern Africa as a world-historical location in regional and global processes and networks of imperialism, colonialism, and resistance between 1700-1900. Understanding how and why histories of colonial conquest and violence continue to shape contemporary problems is a central concern of my work as a historian.

My dissertation explores transformations in sovereignty and ecology in southern Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries. The work is concerned with questions of movement and enclosure. How, for example, did imperial dispossession and enslavement shape existing flows of migration, political formation, and dissolution? In what ways did enclosure reconfigure existing ecologies, disrupting interspecies relations and networks, and shaping new landscapes and ideas about territorial sovereignty. I argue that inter-imperial disputes between the British and Portuguese empires shaped transformations in African land and waterscapes, forming an environmental foundation for the military, and political economic consolidation of conquest in the unjust wars of colonisation in southern Africa in the late 19th century.