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Dr Kate Law

Senior Lecturer in Modern History

Dr. Kate Law is Senior Lecturer in Modern History in the Department of History and Politics.

Kate studied British Imperial, African and Women’s History at the University of Sheffield and received her PhD in 2012.

Prior to coming to Chichester, Kate was a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and latterly Lecturer in Gender Studies, at the University of the Free State, South Africa, where she remains a Research Fellow in the Centre for Africa Studies. 



Gendering the Settler State: White Women, Race, Liberalism and Empire in Colonial Rhodesia, 1950-1980 (Routledge: New York, 2016).

Articles/Chapters in Edited Collections

‘“Mostly we are White and Alone”: Identity, Anxiety and the Past in some White Zimbabwean Memoirs’, Journal of Historical Sociology 29.3 (2016), pp. 297-318.

‘From Settlers to Strays: White Zimbabwean Women, Historical Memory and Belonging in the Diaspora c. 1980-2010’, Women’s History Review 25.4 (2016), pp. 1-12.

‘Afrikanerdom, Archives and Change: The Archive for Contemporary Affairs at the University of the Free State, South Africa’ (with Huibré Lombard), Itinerario, 38.2 (2014), pp. 19-26.

‘Influence in British Colonial Africa’, (with Ashley Jackson) in C. Tuck (ed.), British Propaganda and Wars of Empire: Influencing Friend and Foe 1900-2010 (Ashgate, 2014), pp. 97-122.

‘“Even a labourer is worthy of his hire: how much more a wife?” Gender and the Contested Nature of Domesticity in Colonial Zimbabwe, c.1945-1978’, South African Historical Journal 63 (2011), pp. 456-474.

‘Making Marmalade and Imperial Mentalities: The Case of a Colonial Wife’, African Research and Documentation 112 (2010), pp. 19-27.

‘Liberal Women in Rhodesia: A Report on the Mitchell Papers’, History in Africa, A Journal of Method 37 (2010), pp. 389-398.

‘“The Wild West World of BEE”, Black Economic Empowerment Reviewed’, Safundi, The Journal of South African and American Studies 11 (2010), pp. 313-323.

‘Episodes of Ambiguity: Socialism in Zimbabwe, 1980-1985’, Australasian Review of African Studies 30 (2009), pp. 49-63.

Review Articles

‘Ohio’s Short Histories: Encounters of the Past in the Present’, Journal of African History, 55.3 (2014), pp. 516-521.

‘Plundering the Past: History and Nation in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 40.1 (2014), pp. 217-227.

‘Business as Usual? Politics, Hegemony and Elite Manoeuvrings in Zimbabwe since the signing of the Global Political Agreement’, International Journal of African Historical Studies, 46.3 (2013), pp. 443-450.

Book Reviews

I have written book reviews for journals including African Affairs, The Journal of African History, The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, The Journal of Southern African Studies, The English Historical Review and the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History.

Conference Presentations

To date I have presented over twenty-five conference papers across Britain, South Africa, Canada and the United States.


A feminist historian of Britain and its empire, to date Kate’s research has focused on women’s and gender history in nineteenth and twentieth century Southern Africa.

Her first book, Gendering the Settler State: White Women, Race, Liberalism and Empire in Rhodesia, 1950-1980, used the case study of colonial Zimbabwe to make broader global connections regarding the role of gender in the process of British imperialism and decolonisation, and has been described by Professor Philippa Levine (University of Texas at Austin) as a ‘pioneering and important study’.

Kate is currently working on two new projects.

The first, ‘The Emily Hobhouse Letters: South Africa in International Context, 1899-1926’ is a collaboration with colleagues at Leeds Beckett and Huddersfield Universities, and has received funding from the AHRC.

While much has been written about Hobhouse’s activities during the second South African War (1899-1902), far less is known about her humanitarian work in South Africa and continental Europe.

This project therefore examines her writings as a way to understand how her ideas of peace, relief and reconstruction shaped international thinking in the early twentieth century.

The second project, ‘Fighting Fertility? The British Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Politics of Race and Contraception in South Africa c.1980-1994’, grows out of her interest in the histories of female activism and liberal networks in Southern Africa, and has received funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Although much scholarship on South African history has focused on the most violent excesses of the apartheid regime, comparatively little attention has been paid to “everyday life” in South Africa in the 1980s.

Using healthcare provision as a prism through which to understand the localised aspect of apartheid, this project examines the use of the controversial contraceptive injection Depo-Provera, and South Africa’s forced resignation from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in 1987. 

PHD Supervision

I have successfully supervised one PhD student to completion, with another two due for submission in January 2017.

I would be very happy to hear from MPhil/PhD students who are interested in women’s history; gender history; African history; British Imperial history, and medical history.

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