Elizabeth MacGonagle

Liz MacGonagle
  • Associate Professor
  • Associate Chair
  • African history; comparative black history; social and cultural history; gender studies.

Contact Info

Wescoe Hall, Room 3626
Office Hours:
Tu. 12:00-3:00 p.m.
& By Appointment


Professor MacGonagle (Ph.D. Michigan State, 2002) focuses on processes of identity formation in African and Diasporan settings in her research. Her work crosses historical, geographical, and theoretical boundaries to examine links of nation, culture, and ethnicity. In her first book, Crafting Identity in Zimbabwe and Mozambique (University of Rochester Press, 2007), she examined four centuries of history from 1500–1900 in the Ndau region of southeastern Africa to challenge popular notions about tribalism. MacGonagle is currently engaged in analyzing intersections between history and memory at several African sites of memory central to the heritage of slavery. She speaks Portuguese and Ndau. MacGonagle has received grants from Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Philosophical Society, among others, to support research in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. Professor MacGonagle collaborated with Ken Lohrentz (KU Libraries) to digitize a portion of the Onitsha Market Literature collection held at KU's Spencer Research Library. Selections of this popular Nigerian literature are available along with a companion website. From 2013-2021 she served as Director of the Kansas African Studies Center.


Professor MacGonagle teaches African history at KU in the departments of History and African & African-American Studies. Her undergraduate course offerings include surveys of African history, a seminar on sexuality and gender in African history, a course on the liberation of southern Africa, and a seminar on memory in global perspective. At the graduate level, she teaches seminars in both African Studies and African history. In 2007 she received the ING Excellence in Teaching Award at KU.

Recent Courses:

  • HIST 104/AAAS 105: Introduction to African History
  • HIST 111/AAAS 115: Introduction to African History, Honors
  • HIST 300/AAAS 305: Modern African History
  • HIST 307/AAAS 307: Modern African History, Honors
  • HIST 598/AAAS 598: Sexuality and Gender in African History
  • HIST 802/AAAS 802: Seminar in African Studies

Selected Publications

  • Mozambique.” In Oxford Bibliographies in African Studies. Ed. Thomas Spear. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • “Imagining the Past at Great Zimbabwe.” In Remembering Africa and Its Diasporas, edited by Audra Diptee and David V. Trotman. Trenton: Africa World Press, 2012, 85-100.
  • “‘How Much for Kunta Kinte?!’: Sites of Memory and Diasporan Encounters in West Africa,” Co-authored by Kim Warren. In African Hosts and their Guests: Cultural Dynamics of Tourism, edited by Walter van Beek & Annette Schmidt. Rochester, NY: James Currey, 2012, 75-102.