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Professor Daniel Branch

Professor in African History

Academic career

  • 2013-present: Professor in African History, University of Warwick (including acting Chair of Faculty of Arts, Feb-June 2019; Head of Department of History, 2014-19).
  • 2008-13: Assistant/Associate Professor in African History, University of Warwick.
  • 2006-8: Lecturer in History, University of Exeter.
  • 2005-6: Postdoctoral fellow, Program on Order, Conflict and Violence at the Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University.
  • 2002-5: DPhil, Modern History, St Peter's College, University of Oxford.
Research interests

My main interests are in the colonial and post-colonial history of Kenya. I am also interested in the global expriences of Kenyans during the independence era. I am now working with Emma Hunter (Edinburgh) and Gerard McCann (York) on a joint Leverhulme-funded project on East Africa's global 1960s. I am currently writing a monograph on Tom Mboya and the global politics of Kenya's decolonisatiion.

My first book was a study of loyalism during the Mau Mau rebellion in late-colonial Kenya and my second a narrative of post-colonial politics up to the present.

These two projects have led to other interests in contemporary Kenyan politics and counterinsurgency. I am currently completing a co-authored book (with David Anderson) on the history of loyalism in the British Empire.

As well as the current Leverhulme-funded research, I have held grants in the past from the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

I am happy to supervise postgraduate students interested in any of these of areas.

I have supervised or am currently supervising PhD students working on the post-war experience of South African loyalists, 1902-1910; the anti-apartheid movement in Britain; banking in colonial Kenya; the Cold War and Tanzanian politics in the 1960s; Chinese oil workers in Sudan; development in post-colonial Kenya; trade unions and decolonisation in South East Asia; and devolution in Kenya.


Kenya: Between Hope and Despair, 1963-2011 (Yale University Press, London & New Haven: 2011).

Defeating Mau Mau, Creating Kenya: Counterinsurgency, Civil War and Decolonisation (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge & New York: 2009).

Other academic publications

'Unwanted Friends: Loyalty and Citizenship in Britain's Imperial Wars, 1899-1960,' in Gareth Curless & Martin Thomas (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Colonial Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies (Oxford University Press, Oxford: forthcoming).

'Public Letters and the Culture of Politics in Kenya, c.1960-75,' Journal of Eastern African Studies, online advance access (open access full online version)).

'Political Traffic: Kenyan Students in Eastern and Central Europe, 1958-1969,' Journal of Contemporary History, 53, 4 (2018), 811-31 (full online version and open access pre-proof version).

Allies at the End of Empire: Loyalists, Nationalists and the Cold War, 1945-76 (Routledge, London: 2017) [co-edited with David Anderson].

'Allies at the End of Empire: Loyalists, Nationalists and the Cold War, 1945-76,' International History Review, 39, 1 (2017), [co-authored with David Anderson].

'Violence, Decolonisation and the Cold War in Kenya's North-Eastern Province, 1963-78,' Journal of Eastern African Studies, 8, 4 (2014), 642-57.

'Pharma in Africa: Health, Corruption and Contemporary Kenya in The Constant Gardener,' in Nigel Eltringham (ed.), Framing Africa: Portrayals of a Continent in Contemporary Mainstream Cinema (Berghahn, New York & Oxford: 2013).

'Revisiting Counterinsurgency,' Politics and Society, 38, 1 (2010), 3-14 [co-authored with Elisabeth Jean Wood].

'Footprints in the Sand: British Colonial Counterinsurgency and the War in Iraq,' Politics and Society, 38, 1 (2010), 15-34.

‘Introduction’ and ‘Conclusion’ [co-authored with Nic Cheeseman] in Daniel Branch, Nic Cheeseman & Leigh Gardner (eds), Our Turn to Eat: Politics Since 1950 (Lit Verlag, Berlin: 2010).

'The Search for the Remains of Dedan Kimathi: The Politics of Death and Memorialization in Post-Colonial Kenya,' Past and Present, 206, supplement 5 'Relics and Remains' (2010), 301-20.

'Democratization, Sequencing and State Failure in Africa: Lessons from Kenya' [co-authored with Nic Cheeseman], African Affairs, 108, 430 (2009), pp.1-26.

'Violence and Counter-Insurgency in Cyprus, 1955-59: A Comparative Perspective,' in Vassilis Gounaris, Stathis Kalyvas & Yannis Stefanidis (eds), Ανορθόδοξοι πόλεμοι. Μακεδονία, Εμϕύλιος, Κύπρος [Irregular Wars: Macedonia, Civil War, Cyprus] (Patakis, Athens: 2009).

The Politics of Control in Kenya: Understanding the Bureaucratic-Executive State, 1952-78’ [co-authored with Nic Cheeseman], Review of African Political Economy, 33, 107 (2006), pp.11-31.

‘The Enemy Within: Loyalists and the War Against Mau Mau’, Journal of African History, 48, 2 (2007), pp.291-315.

‘Loyalists, Mau Mau, and Elections: The First Triumph of the System, 1957-58’, Africa Today, 53, 2 (2006), pp.27-50.

'Using Opinion Polls to Evaluate Kenyan Politics, March 2004-January 2005’ [co-authored with Nic Cheeseman], African Affairs, 104, 415 (2005), pp.325-36.

‘Imprisonment and Colonialism in Kenya, c.1930-1952: Escaping the Carceral Archipelago’, International Journal of African Historical Studies, 38, 2 (2005), pp.239-65.

Non-academic writing

'The Fire Next Time: Why Memories of the 2007-8 Post-Election Violence Still Remain Alive,' The Elephant, 29 July 2017.

'Don't Preach Silence to Preserve Peace: Kenya Election 2017,' The Elephant, 14 July 2017.

'Imperial Presidency will be a Big Win for Al-Shabaab', Saturday Nation, 27 December 2014.

'Kenya Sacrificing Human RIghts for Security,' Saturday Nation, 13 December 2014.

'Security Bosses Should be Fired but that Must Go with Change of Tack,' Saturday Nation, 28 November 2014.

'Tetanus Vaccine Debate Echoes ICC Narrative,' Saturday Nation, 15 November 2014.

'Africa Should Oppose EU Migrants' Law as it did Uhuru Case,' Saturday Nation, 1 November 2014.

'To Move On, Kenya Must Confront Past Demons,' Saturday Nation, 25 October 2014.

'There was Nothing Professorial but Brute Force in Daniel arap Moi's Wield of Power,' Saturday Nation, 6 September 2014.

'Consensus, the Elusive Word in our Politics,' Saturday Nation, 23 August 2014.

'Without Access to Documents, Land Debate will Get Nowhere,' Saturday Nation, 8 August 2014.

'Why East Africa's Borders are Blowing Up (co-authored with Jason Mosley),' Foreign Policy website, 6 August 2014.

'Why We Need Online State Critics More Than a Tired CORD,' Saturday Nation, 12 July 2014.

'Political Frenzy Blinds Us to Real Security Threats,' Saturday Nation, 28 June 2014.

'Diverse Identities Find Platform in the World Cup,' Saturday Nation, 14 June 2014.

'Why Jubilee Should be Confident, Not Paranoid,' Saturday Nation, 1 June 2014.

'A Litany of Rules Alone will not End Insecurity,' Saturday Nation, 17 May 2014.

'Budget Promises Growth, but that Alone Won't Help,' Saturday Nation, 3 May 2014.

'A Case for Liberal Policies Towards the Somali,' Saturday Nation, 19 April 2014.

'EU Budget Cuts Mean Kenya Needs Urgent Exit Strategy from Somalia,' Saturday Nation, 5 April 2014.

'Kenyans Are Better Placed to Write on Local Politics,' Saturday Nation, 22 March 2014.

'Local Languages: How Minister Got it Wrong Citing 1976 Report,' Saturday Nation, 8 March 2014.

'After Mijikenda Artefacts, Nairobi Must Now Act to Protect its Own Heritage,' Saturday Nation, 22 February 2014.

'Why African Opposition Parties are in Turmoil,' Saturday Nation, 8 February 2014.

'Reformers of the Past 20 Years are Losing the Argument about Freedom,' Saturday Nation, 25 January 2014.

'To Keep Peace, IGAD needs Teeth to Bite,' Saturday Nation, 11 January 2014.

'It's in Kenya's Interests to Stop Clashes in Juba,' Saturday Nation, 21 December 2013.

'Waking Up to Harsh Realities of Next 50 Years (co-authored with Nic Cheeseman),' Saturday Nation, 14 December 2013.

'Foreign Policy Isn't About Freedom of Two Men,' Saturday Nation, 30 November 2013.

'Kenya's Politicians Cannot Claim the Credit for its Best Achievements,' Financial Times, 25 November 2013.

'EAC's Success Needs More than Pipelines,' Saturday Nation, 2 November 2013.

'Uhuru Kenyatta Confronts Devolution Half a Century After his Father (co-authored with Nic Cheeseman), Sunday Nation, 20 October 2013.

'Reforms: Spare Baby and Throw Bath Water,' Saturday Nation, 19 October 2013.

'We Should Not Sacrifice Our Hard Won Liberties to Security Agencies,' Saturday Nation, 5 October 2013.

'Why Civil Society is Taking a Back Seat in Political Debates,' Saturday Nation, 21 September 2013.

'Hague Cases Offer Us Time to Reflect on the Kenya We Have,' Saturday Nation, 6 September 2013.

'Before Exploiting Oil Wealth, Put Equality Debate on Table,' Saturday Nation, 24 August 2013.

'The Whole of Eastern Africa is in a Flux (co-authored with Nic Cheeseman),' Saturday Nation, 10 August 2013.

'Sticking Together is the Right Formula for Kenya,' Saturday Nation, 27 July 2013.

'Why We Stand Tall Among Nations (co-authored with Nic Cheeseman), Sunday Nation, 2 June 2013.

'From Cold War to M-Pesa, Events that Shaped Our History' (co-authored with Nic Cheeseman), Saturday Nation, 1 June 2013.

'Kenya Between Hope and Despair. Again,' African Arguments, 28 February 2013.

'The Kenya Puzzle', Foreign Policy website, 28 Feburary 2013.

'Why Kenya Invaded Somalia,' Foreign Affairs website, 15 November 2011.

'Kenya and Somalia: Landscape of Tension', OpenDemocracy and Yale Books blog, 27 October 2011.

'ICC and Kenya's 2012 Elections: 'The Half Made Place", African Arguments, 31 August 2011.

'Kenya's Referendum: "In the Name of God, No!"', OpenDemocracy, 17 August 2010.

'Kenya: The Normalisation of Violence,' African Arguments, 17 July 2009.

'At the Polling Station in Kibera', London Review of Books, 24 January 2008.

'A Very British Massacre', History Today, 8 August 2006.