Elizabeth MacGonagle

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

Contact Info

Wescoe Hall, Room 3626
Office Hours:
On leave for the Fall 2023 semester.


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. Dr. MacGonagle’s current work analyzed intersections between history and memory at sites of memory central to the heritage of slavery. She speaks Portuguese and Shona (Ndau) and has studied Kiswahili and French. Dr. 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. She has received the George and Eleanor Woodyard International Educator Award and theING Excellence in Teaching Award at KU.

Recent Courses:

  • HNRS 195: Seminar in Memory in Global Perspective
  • HIST 300/AAAS 305: Modern African History
  • HIST 307/AAAS 307: Modern African History, Honors
  • HIST 337: History, Ethics, and Modernity
  • HIST/AAAS/POLS 560 Liberation in Southern Africa
  • HIST 802/AAAS 802: Seminar in African Studies

Selected Publications

  • History and Memory in an African Context: The Case of Robben Island.” In Area Studies in the Global Age: Community, Place, Identity. Ed. Edith Clowes and Ann Shelly Jarrett Bromberg. Cornell University Press, 2016.
  • In the Wake of a Midwestern Terrorism Plot.” Co-authored with Marwa Ghazali. The Huffington Post. 11 November 2016.
  • Mozambique.” In Oxford Bibliographies in African Studies, Ed. Thomas Spear. Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • “Imagining the Past at Great Zimbabwe.” In Remembering Africa and Its Diasporas, ed. Audra Diptee and David V. Trotman. Africa World Press, 2012.
  • “‘How Much for Kunta Kinte?!’: Sites of Memory and Diasporan Encounters in West Africa,” Co-authored with Kim Warren. In African Hosts and their Guests: Cultural Dynamics of Tourism, Ed. Walter van Beek & Annette Schmidt. James Currey, 2012.