Caroline Elkins Speaker & Booking Information

Professor of African Studies at Harvard University
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Caroline Elkins is the Hugo K. Foster Associate Professor of African Studies at Harvard University. Born in 1969, she studied for her undergraduate degree at Princeton University where she graduated as an African History major, summa cum laude. She then went on to receive her master’s degree and PhD in history from Harvard University.

Conversant in Swahili and Kikuyu, Elkins has used this knowledge to travel and work in rural areas in Africa, particularly in Kenya. Her research has won numerous awards, including the Fulbright, Andrew W. Mellon and Knox Fellowships as well as a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her first book, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya, chronicles the British detention camp system in Kenya during the 1950s, and the war crimes perpetrated by colonial officials and settlers during this episode of imperial rule. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in 2006. Imperial Reckoning has also been the subject of numerous lectures and conferences in Europe, Africa, and North America. Among various awards, it was one of The Economist’s Best Books for 2005, an Editor’s Choice for The New York Times, a Waterstone’s Best Writer for 2005, and is a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize for nonfiction.

Elkin’s work has been profiled in leading newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, The New York Times, Le Monde, and The Times, as well on various radio programs including NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition, and BBC World, Radio One, and Radio Four. She and her research have also been the subjects of a BBC documentary titled “Kenya: White Terror.” First aired in November 2002, the controversial film generated an audience of nearly 1.5 million viewers, the highest in recent BBC history, and won the International Red Cross Award at the Monte Carlos Film Festival.

Elkins is currently working on a book that documents and analyzes British colonial violence after World War II. In addition to her research and writing, Professor Elkins is a dedicated teacher who has won several awards for her excellence with students.

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