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

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Jeanne Marie Penvenne
Associate Professor of History
African History


I am a social and labor historian of colonial Mozambique. Although much of my work focuses on ordinary workers, and specifically explores the many ways they framed their experiences in oral histories, I also have engaged the development and contradictions of Mozambique's black intellectual elites largely through their newspapers. My early research documented the extent to which forced labor in Southern Mozambique fueled men's migration to South Africa's mines and Mozambique's towns and cities. As I recorded scores of men's work and life histories, I was struck, first, by the fact that, although most of these men had women in their lives, it was difficult to get a sense of their families, and second, 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. Women, Migration and the Cashew Economy of Southern Mozambique, 1945-1974 will be published by James Currey in August 2015.

I taught on a visiting basis at several universities in the greater Boston area between 1985 and 1990, and was hired full time at Tufts in 1993. I have also taught and developed courses on African Historiography, Gender and Oral History at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo Mozambique, most recently in 2004-2005. Generous funding from Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, Social Science Research Council, Gulbenkian and Mellon Foundations supported my research and teaching in Mozambique since 1976. During my upcoming sabbatical in 2014-15, I will pursue three ongoing projects: biographical sketches of Mozambican intellectuals in the late colonial era, a study of Mozambican post-colonial literature and images of prostitution in the capital city, and a Southern Africa textbook and reader.


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

  • "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.