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Department of History
Tufts University
East Hall, Room 105
Medford, MA 02155

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Office hours:
Fall Semester 2016
Mondays 1:30-2:30
Tuesdays 11:45-12:45
and by appointment
Jeanne Marie Penvenne
Professor of History
African History


I am a social and labor historian. My work focuses on the urban African population of colonial era Mozambique. My first books, Trabalhadores de Lourenço Marques and African Workers and Colonial Racism considered the largely male labor force from the turn of the twentieth century to the political insurrection of the 1960s. As I recorded scores of men's work and life histories, I realized that, although most of these men had women in their lives, it was difficult to get a sense of their families. It also seemed that migration and waged labor choices played out very differently for men and women. That led me to conduct an oral history project among the women workers in Mozambique's colonial era cashew-shelling industry, and to seek gendered perspectives on households, waged labor and migration. That research led to my third book, Women, Migration and the Cashew Economy of Southern Mozambique, 1945-1974.

Although much of my work is rooted in oral histories of ordinary workers, I also have engaged the development and contradictions of Mozambique's colonial era black intellectual elites through a careful consideration of their newspapers. I have returned to the black press to develop social history of the intellectual elites. I am also working on a Southern African History textbook and reader and colonial era urban prostitution through the lens of Mozambican fiction and art.

Aside from teaching in the History, International Relations, Africana and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies programs at Tufts, I have also taught and helped develop curricula in African Historiography, Gender and Oral History at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo Mozambique. In 2012 Jacques Depelchin and I were Keynote Speakers at Universidade Pedagógica’s conference celebrating a half century of higher education in Mozambique. I have enjoyed generous support for my research from Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, Gulbenkian and Mellon Foundations.


African History, Labor History, Mozambique, East and Southern Africa, Comparative Women's History, Urbanization and Labor Migration


  • Ph.D. Boston University, M.A. Boston University
  • B.S. Northeastern University, A.A. Berkshire Community College


  • Fulbright Award for Mozambique, 2004-2005
  • Lillian and Joseph Leibner Award for Distinguished Teaching and Advising, 2001
  • Lerman-Neubauer Prize for Outstanding Teaching and Advising, 1999
  • U.S. Speaker & Specialist Award Mozambique / Angola, 1998
  • Herskovits Award Finalist for African Workers and Colonial Racism, 1996
  • African Regional Research Award for Southern Africa, Fulbright 1992-93
  • International Fellow, Gulbenkian Foundation, 1992-1993, 1977
  • Social Science Research Council, Int'l Doctoral Fellow, 1976-1978
  • Fulbright Dissertation Research Scholar to Portugal, 1976-77

Course syllabi

  • HST 13: Reconstructing Africa's Past to 1850

Major Publications

  • "Moçambique pelo seu povo – Mozambique: Many People, Many Stories. Contested Masculinities & Gendered Perspectives," Africana Studia, No. 27 (2018): 165-176.
  • Women, Migration & the Cashew Economy in Southern Mozambique, 1945-1975 (2015).
  • "Learning from Jill Dias: Press, Photography and People." in Maria Cardeira da Silva and Clara Saraiva (coords), "Jill Dias' lessons in Anthropology, History, África, Academy." Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia (2013).
  • "Fotografando Lourenço Marques: A Cidade e os seus Habitantes de 1960 á 1975" in Os Outros da Colonização: Ensaios sobre Tardo-colonialismo em Moçambique. Edited by Claúdia Castelo, Omar Ribeiro Tomaz, Sebastião Nasimento e Teresa Cruz e Silva. Lisbon: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais, 2012.
  • 'Two Tales of a City – Lourenço Marques, 1945-1975," Portuguese Studies Review; Special Issue in Honor of Jill R. Dias. 19, 1-2 (2011): 249-269.
  • "Settling against the Tide: The Layered Contradictions of Twentieth Century Portuguese Settlement in Mozambique," chapter 3 in Settler Colonialism in the Twentieth Century: Projects, Practices and Legacies Edited by Caroline Elkins and Susan Pederson. (New York: Routledge, 2005)
  • "Portuguese Speaking Africa," Guest Editor of a Special Issue of International Journal of African Historical Studies Volume 36, No. 1 (Fall 2003)
  • "'A xikomo xa lomu, iku tira' Citadines africaines à Lourenço Marques (Mozambique), 1945-1975," Le Mouvement Social , 204, julliet-septembre (2003):81-92.
  • "Power, Poets and the People - Mozambican Voices Interpreting History" co-authored with Prof. Bento Sitoe, Social Dynamics. Vol. 26, No. 2 (2000): 55-86. Special issue dedicated to the memory of Leroy Vail, Professor of African History, Harvard University [published January, 2002 not 2000 as stated on the issue]
  • "Gender Studies, Area Studies, and the New History, with Special Reference to Africa" in Curricular Crossings: Women's Studies and Area Studies - A Web Anthology for the College Classroom. Launched 26 October 2000.
  • "Poppie Nongena and South African History," in Jean Hay, ed. African Novels in the Classroom (Boulder, Lynne Reinner, 2000):153-166.
  • "A Tapestry of Conflict: Mozambique 1960-1995," in David Birmingham and Phyllis Martin, eds. History of Central Africa; The Contemporary Years (London, Longman, 1998): 230-266.
  • "Seeking the Factory for Women, Mozambican Urbanization in the Late Colonial Era," Journal of Urban History Vol. 23, No. 3 (March, 1997): 342-379.
  • "João dos Santos Albasini (1876-1922); The Contradictions of Politics and Identity in Colonial Mozambique," Journal of African History, Vol. 37, No. 3 1996):417-464.
  • African Workers and Colonial Racism; Mozambican Strategies for Survival in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique 1877-1962. Portsmouth: Heinemann, Social History of Africa Series, 1995.
  • Trabalhadores de Lourenço Marques, 1870 - 1974 . Maputo: Arquivo Histórico de Moçambique, 1993 [Estudos, 9]
  • "'We are all Portuguese!': Challenging the Political Economy of Assimilation, Lourenço Marques, 1870 to 1933," in Leroy Vail, editor, The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa (Berkeley: University of California, 1989): 255-288.
  • "Labor Struggles at the Port of Lourenço Marques, 1900-1933," Review; Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems and Civilizations, "The Struggle for Southern Africa, Special Issue Dedicated to the Memory of Ruth First, 8, 2 (1984): 249-285.
  • "'Here Everyone Walked with Fear': The Mozambican Labor System and the Workers of Lourenço Marques, 1945-1962," in Frederick Cooper, editor, Struggle for the City: Migrant Labor, Capital and the State (Berkeley, Sage, 1983): 131-166.
  • "Chibalo e Classe Operária: Lourenço Marques, 1870-1962," Estudos Moçambicanos, 2 (1982): 9-26.
  • "Paradigms, Pedagogy and Politics; Thinking about Africa in the Twenty First Century" Review Article in International Journal of African Historical Studies, Volume 29, No. 2 (1996):337-343.
  • "A Luta Continua," International Journal of African Historical Studies, 18, 1 (1985): 109-138.